Thursday, June 28, 2018

Festival to celebrate the 'blended history' of Bradenton and the Bahamas

Trudy Williams of Reflections of Manatee stands with Daphney Towns, organizer of the Back to Angola Festival at Mineral Springs Park, which has revealed itself to be the location of New Angola, a settlement of escaped slaves who were driven out in 1821, escaping to the Bahamas. The pair will host the Back to Angola Festival from July 13-15. File photo by Tiffany Tompkins Bradenton Herald

By Mark Young

Reflections of Manatee will host a unique three-day festival near Mineral Springs Park July 13-15 celebrating Bradenton's historic ties to Red Bays area of the Bahamas.

The Village of Red Bays is the only settlement on the west coast of Andros Island and the historic destination of escaped slaves who settled the area after a dangerous journey to freedom. That journey included more than two decades attempting to settle the Mineral Springs area of Bradenton before being forced to flee for their lives.

Daphney Towns, president of Oaktree Community Outreach, began organizing the Back to Angola Festival as she began to learn about the discoveries being made to prove the existence of "New Angola" at Mineral Springs. Those efforts have led to the Bradenton park being nominated to become part of the National Parks Service's Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.  Read more >>