Dear readers, I am honored to have one of my historical essays published in the 2015 issue of Tequesta: The Journal of HistoryMiami Museum. The essay is called “Black Caesar’s Klan: Albert Payson Terhune, the Birth of Miami, and the Cultural Battle for an Old Bahamian Legend.” It discusses how the legend of an Afro-American pirate associated with Biscayne Bay, in Southeast Florida, changed from the homesteading era of Miami during the 1870s to 1890s to the Jim Crow era in the 1910s and 1920s. This is the first article I have published that really gets into a specific period of the legend’s history. The piece will eventually become a chapter of my dissertation, which is entitled “Revenant of the Keys: A History of the Black Caesar Legends of Biscayne Bay, 1688-2015.”
Writing this essay was a sincere joy. I am proud of the way that it turned out, but I cannot take all the credit. The final product bears the imprint of greater minds at all stages of the process. First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone at HistoryMiami Museum for their guidance, especially Editor Paul George, Managing Editor Rebecca A. Smith, Archives Manager Dawn Hugh, and Archives Associate Ashley Trujillo. Next, I would like to thank Professor of History at Loyola University, Chicago, Timothy J. Gilfoyle. I researched and wrote this essay under his supervision, in a seminar course called “HIST 555: American Social and Intellectual History.” I owe Professor Gilfoyle and my graduate colleagues in that course an extraordinary amount of gratitude. I hope that they will err on the side of graciousness when reading the final product, and extend to me the benefit of the doubt. They know this work far better than others. Of course, any mistakes that remain are my own. Last, I would like to thank the staff at the Newberry Library in Chicago, where I did some research for this project, as well as all of my mentors, colleagues, and friends at the University of California, Davis, where I now attend, and Loyola University, Chicago, where I attended at the time this article was composed.
I am truly honored to publish an essay in the 75th edition of Tequesta, especially because this particular issue is devoted to a great historian of Southern Florida, Raymond Mohl, who recently passed away. Just this past Fall, I was researching an essay on Miami historiography for one of my courses at Davis, and I found myself relying very heavily upon Mohl’s work. It became apparent to me quite early in the research process that one just cannot research the topic of Southern Florida without climbing upon his shoulders. And so, I would like to take a moment to echo Paul George’s comments in the forward to this issue, and express both my gratitude for all of Mohl’s work and my sincere regret at his passing. Though I never had the opportunity to meet him, his research has affected me nonetheless. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow contributors to the 2015 issue of Tequesta. Since 1941, Tequesta has been a cultural mainstay of greater Miami, an outlet for upcoming historians of Southern Florida, and simply a great thing to read. I am overjoyed to become a part of that legacy.
Thank you for your support, and best wishes.