Occupied by circa 1792, this plantation derives its name from Zephaniah Kingsley, who occupied the site between 1814 and 1839. Kingsley was a slave trader and ship’s captain. Defying convention, he took as a wife Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley, an enslaved girl from Senegal. Objecting to the harsh laws regarding interracial marriage and biracial children when Florida became American territory, Kingsley and his family moved to Haiti in 1839. The plantation was subsequently owned by a number of individuals into the early 20th century.
The entire field of African-American archaeology can actually trace its origin back to Kingsley Plantation, where in 1968 Dr. Charles Fairbanks (former professor at UF) conducted the first-ever scientific excavation of a slave cabin.
The founder of the plantation, Zephaniah Kingsley, is the great-great-great-great grandfather of anthropologist Johnetta Cole, former President of Spelman College and the current director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. Anna Madgigine Jai is Cole’s great-great-great-great grandmother.