Fort Mose holds the distinction of being the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what is now the United States. Its founding residents, a community of approximately 100 Africans, created a unique cultural blend, drawing from Native American, Spanish, and English traditions. In 1994, Fort Mose received designation as a Historic National Landmark.
Charles Ellis, President of the Fort Mose Historical Society, expressed gratitude for the invaluable partnership, highlighting the role of donations from concert-goers in supporting interpretive events that tell the story of Fort Mose. Additionally, Ellis noted the upcoming reenactments like Founders Day, Flight to Freedom, First Harvest, and Battle of Bloody Mose, set against the backdrop of the 1738 fort reconstruction.
In its inaugural year in 2022, the Fort Mose Jazz & Blues Series earned acclaim for its powerful performances in a unique setting, attracting over 3,000 attendees. The 2023 series further elevated the experience, drawing more than 4,200 attendees and a star-studded roster, including Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples, and Rhiannon Giddens, among others.
Over these two years, the Fort Mose Jazz & Blues Series has not only celebrated musical excellence but also raised awareness about the historic site and contributed to the Fort Mose Historical Society's efforts to reconstruct a representation of Fort Mose. With the support of the Florida State Parks Foundation, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks, and other generous donors, groundbreaking for the 1738 Fort Mose reconstruction project is set to begin in early 2024. In total, the series has raised over $97,000 in support of Fort Mose Historical Society's ongoing efforts.