Monday, February 08, 2010
The Black Seminoles.
Their ancestors were runaways from the plantations of South Carolina and Georgia beginning in the late seventeenth century who sought refuge in Spanish-controlled Florida.
They were in constant fear of being recaptured, they defended their freedom by developing extraordinary skills in guerilla warfare, they were savvy in their interaction with Native Americans. The central question, whether they were African or American Indian.
They called themselves Seminoles to emphasize the pride that they have in their unique history of having run away and resisted slavery.
The first fugitive slaves from Charleston arrived in Spanish St. Augustine, Florida, in 1687. In 1838, the Spanish governor established a settlement for the runaways called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, becoming the first free Black settlement in North America
At the same time the Blacks were establishing themselves at Mose, bands of Creeks split off from the main body of their tribe, dislocated through war and conflict, drifted into northern Florida. These people were called Seminoles. The name Seminole comes from the Spanish word cimaroon meaning "fugitives" or "wild ones" and was incorporated into the Creek language. The English word "maroon" comes from the same Spanish source.
During the First Seminole War (1817-1818)Blacks were recognized for their aggressive military prowess. Later the Indian Removal Act of 1830 Blacks feared a returned to slavery and joined the Seminoles in a guerilla war known as the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). It turned out to be the longest and most expensive war and prompted General Thomas S. Jesup to say: "This you may be assured is a negro and not an Indian War."
To end this long, bloody and costly war Jesup resorted to expedience. He granted freedom to the Blacks if they would go West as part of the Seminole Nation. This war turned out to be a "War of Independence" for the Blacks. In the 1830s, we went to Indian Territory and settled along the Canadian River slave raids continued, we left once again and went to Mexico,
in the Indian Territory, The Creeks were intent on enslaving the Black Seminoles. Wild Cat, leader of the Seminole Indians and John Horse, leader of the Black Seminoles, resisted...