“You’ve probably heard many stories about Muir, Roosevelt and Thoreau and how they contributed to the environmental movement. But you probably haven’t heard of Israel and Lancelot Jones, Black men who were essential to the creation of a Florida national park.”
This 30 second animation introduces the Jones Family and their preservation of the land that would eventually become Biscayne National Park. In 1897, Israel Lafayette Jones purchased Porgy Key to farm pineapples and key limes. He continued to expand his land as opportunities arose.
“Motivated by the belief that the area should be preserved, descendants of Israel Jones including Lancelot and his sister-in-law Kathleen, sold their share of the island to the National Park Service in 1970. Made up of more than 277 acres, the National Park Service paid them $1.2 million.”
NPS also agreed that Lancelot had the right to live on the land for as long as he wished after the sale.
The story above was shared by The Wilderness Society as a part of their Public Lands Curriculum, an educational resource for high school-aged students “that aims to tell a more authentic and complete story of public lands.”
Discover Black History Month videos all year long ➜
• Lancelot Jones: A Hero of Biscayne Bay, a clip from Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.
• The Joneses of Porgy Key from the National Park Service.
• The Public Lands Curriculum, high school-age lessons and discussion topics from The Wilderness Society.
Watch these related videos on TKSST next:
• Why do we need national parks?
• Chief Oshkosh and a history of Menominee Forest conservation
• Brendon Grimshaw, an 86-year-old real-life Robinson Crusoe, and his Moyenne Island
• Betty Reid Soskin and a short tour of the “Rosie the Riveter” Museum
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