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The Cana Sanctuary, The Cana Sanctuary, 0817317473, 0-8173-1747-3, 978-0-8173-1747-8, 9780817317478, , , The Cana Sanctuary, 0817386068, 0-8173-8606-8, 978-0-8173-8606-1, 9780817386061,

The Cana Sanctuary
History, Diplomacy, and Black Catholic Marriage in Antebellum St. Augustine, Florida
by Frank Marotti, Jr.

Trade Cloth
2012. 240 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2012. 240 pp.
Price:  $39.95 d

The Cana Sanctuary uses the collective testimony from more than two hundred Patriot War claims, previously believed to have been destroyed, to offer insight into the lesser-known Patriot War of 1812 and to constitute an intellectual history of everyday people caught in the path of an expanding American empire.
In the late seventeenth century a group of about a dozen escaped African slaves from the English colony of Carolina reached the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine. In a diplomatic bid for sanctuary, to avoid extradition and punishment, they requested the sacrament of Catholic baptism from the Spanish Catholic Church. Their negotiations brought about their baptism and with it their liberation. The Cana Sanctuary focuses on what author Frank Marotti terms “folk diplomacy”—political actions conducted by marginalized, non-state sectors of society—in this instance by formerly enslaved African Americans in antebellum East Florida. The book explores the unexpected transformations that occurred in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century St. Augustine as more and more ex-slaves arrived to find their previously disregarded civil rights upheld under sacred codes by an international, nongovernmental, authoritative organization.
With the Catholic Church acting as an equalizing, empowering force for escaped African slaves, the Spanish religious sanctuary policy became part of popular historical consciousness in East Florida. As such, it allowed for continual confrontations between the law of the Church and the law of the South. Tensions like these survived, ultimately lending themselves to an “Afro-Catholicism” sentiment that offered support for antislavery arguments.

Frank Marotti is an independent historian. He has taught at Cheyney University, Miami Dade College, and Florida International University.

“The Cana Sanctuary is exceedingly well-researched, and gracefully written. What will be most compelling to historians is Marotti’s mastery of the Patriot War Claims in the National Archives, and his use of those claims to write an ‘antebellum intellectual history of everyday people engulfed by an expanding American empire.’” –Daniel L. Schafer, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Florida and author of William Bartram and the Ghost Plantations of British East Florida

"Marotti has undeniably produced a nicely written, well researched account of people who have been largely lost from history. In addition, he reminds us that while antebellum Catholicism in the South did not attack slavery head on, its insistence on baptism and the sanctity of marriage for even people of color needs to be acknowledged."

--James M. Woods, Journal of Southern History

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