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Black Seminoles

The Black Seminoles are Black Indians associated with

the Seminole people in Florida and Oklahoma. They
are the descendants of free blacks and escaped slaves
maroons who allied with Seminole groups in Spanish
Florida. Historically the Black Seminoles lived in distinct
bands; some were slaves of particular Seminole leaders,
but they experienced more freedom than in white society,
including the right to bear arms.

Spain in 1693, the black fugitives received liberty in exchange for defending the Spanish settlers at St. Augustine. The Spanish organized the black volunteers into a
militia; their settlement at Fort Mose, founded in 1738,
was the rst legally sanctioned free black town in North
Not all the slaves escaping south found military service
in St. Augustine to their liking. More escaped slaves
sought refuge in wilderness areas in Northern Florida,
where their knowledge of tropical agricultureand resistance to tropical diseasesserved them well. Most of the
blacks who pioneered Florida were Gullah people who
escaped from the rice plantations of South Carolina (and
later Georgia). As Gullah, they had developed an AfroEnglish based Creole, along with cultural practices and
African leadership structure. The Gullah pioneers built
their own settlements based on rice and corn agriculture.
They became allies of Creek and other Indians escaping
into Florida from the Southeast at the same time.[2] In
Florida, they developed the Afro-Seminole Creole, which
they spoke with the growing Seminole tribe.

Today, Black Seminole descendants live primarily in rural communities within the reservation of the Seminole
Nation of Oklahoma; its two Freedmens bands are represented on the General Council of the Nation. Other
centers are in Florida, Texas, the Bahamas and Northern Mexico. Since the 1930s, the Seminole Freedmen
have struggled with cycles of exclusion from the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma.[1] In 1990, the tribe received the
majority of a $46 million judgment trust by the United
States, for seizure of lands in Florida in 1823, and the
Freedmen have worked to gain a share of it. In 2004 the
US Supreme Court ruled the Seminole Freedmen could
not bring suit without the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma,
which refused to join it on the claim issue. In 2000 the
Seminole Nation voted to restrict membership to those
who could prove descent from a Seminole Indian on the
Dawes Rolls of the early 20th century, which excluded
about 1200 Freedmen previously included as members.

Following the British defeat of the French in the Seven

Years War, in 1763 the British took over rule in Florida,
in an exchange of territory with the Spanish for former
French lands west of the Mississippi. The area was still
considered a sanctuary for fugitive American slaves, as it
was lightly settled. Many slaves sought refuge near growing American Indian settlements.


In 1773, when the American naturalist William Bartram visited the area, the Seminole had their own tribal
name, derived from cimarron, the Spanish word for runaway. Cimarron was also the source of the English word
maroon, used to describe the runaway slave communities
of Florida, the Great Dismal Swamp maroons who had
developed on the border of Virginia and North Carolina,
and maroons on colonial islands of the Caribbean, and
other parts of the New World.[4]

The Spanish strategy for defending their claim of Florida

at rst was based on organizing the indigenous people into
a mission system. The mission Native Americans were to
serve as militia to protect the colony from English incursions from the north. But a combination of raids by South
Carolina colonists and new European infectious diseases,
to which they did not have immunity, decimated Floridas
native population. After the local Native Americans had
all but died out, Spanish authorities encouraged renegade Native Americans and runaway slaves from Englands southern colonies to move to their territory. The
Spanish were hoping that these traditional enemies of the
English would prove eective in holding o English expansion.

Florida had been a refuge for fugitive slaves for at

least 70 years by the time of the American Revolution.
Communities of Black Seminoles were established on
the outskirts of major Seminole towns.[5] A new inux
of freedom-seeking blacks reached Florida during the
American Revolution (177583), escaping during the
disruption of war.

As early as 1689, African slaves ed from the South

Carolina Lowcountry to Spanish Florida seeking freedom. These were people who gradually formed what
has become known as the Gullah culture of the coastal
Southeast.[2] Under an edict from King Charles II of

During the Revolution, the Seminole allied with the

British, and African Americans and Seminole came into
increased contact with each other. The Seminole held
some slaves, as did the Creek and other Southeast Indian


tribes. During the War of 1812, members of both communities sided with the British against the US in the hopes
of defeating American settlers; they strengthened their internal ties and earned the enmity of the wars American
General Andrew Jackson.[6][7]

Christianity developed during the plantation years. Certain cultural practices, such as "jumping the broom" to
celebrate marriage, hailed from the plantations; other
customs, such as some names used for black towns, reected African heritage.[9]

Spain had given land to some Muscogee (Creek) Native Americans. Over time the Creek were joined by
other remnant groups of Southeast American Indians,
such as the Miccosukee and the Apalachicola, and formed
communities. Their community evolved over the late
18th and early 19th centuries as waves of Creek left
present-day Georgia and Alabama under pressure from
white settlement and the Creek Wars.[8] By a process of
ethnogenesis, the Indians formed the Seminole.

As time progressed, the Seminole and Blacks had limited

intermarriage; but historians and anthropologists have
come to believe that generally the Black Seminoles had
independent communities. They allied with the Seminole
at times of war.[2] The Seminole society was based on a
matrilineal kinship system, in which inheritance and descent went through the maternal line. Children belonged
to the mothers clan. While the children might integrate
customs from both cultures, the Seminole believed them
to belong to the mothers group more than the fathers.


The African Americans had more of a patriarchal system. But, under the Souths adoption of the principle of
partus sequitur ventrem, incorporated into slavery law in
the states, children of slave mothers were considered born
into slavery. Even if the mother had escaped, her children
were legally considered slaves and fugitives, like her. As a
result, the Black Seminole were always at risk from slave

3 African-Seminole relations
By the early 19th century, maroons (free blacks and runaway slaves) and the Seminole were in regular contact in
Florida, where they evolved a system of relations unique
among North American Native Americans and blacks. In
exchange for paying an annual tribute of livestock and
crops, black prisoners or slaves found sanctuary among
the Seminole. Seminoles, in turn, acquired an important strategic ally in a sparsely populated region.[2] In the
19th century, the Black Seminoles were called Seminole
Negroes" by their white American enemies and Estelusti
(Black People), by their Indian allies.
Abraham, a Black Seminole leader, from N. Orrs engraving in
The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War (1848)
by John T. Sprague.

The Black Seminole culture that took shape after 1800

was a dynamic mixture of African, Native American,
Spanish, and slave traditions. Adopting certain practices
of the Native Americans, maroons wore Seminole clothing; strained koonti, a native root; and made sofkee, a
paste created by mashing corn with a mortar and pestle. They also introduced their Gullah staple of rice to
the Seminole, and continued to use it as a basic part of
their diets. Rice remained part of the diet of the Black
Seminoles who moved to Oklahoma.[2]
Initially living apart from the Native Americans, the maroons developed their own unique African-American culture, based in the Gullah culture of the Low Country.
Black Seminoles inclined toward a syncretic form of

Typically, many or most members of the Black Seminole

communities were not identied as slaves of individual
Native American chiefs. Black Seminoles lived in their
own independent communities, elected their own leaders,
and could amass wealth in cattle and crops. Most importantly, they bore arms for self-defense. Florida real estate
records show that the Seminole and Black Seminole people owned large quantities of Florida land. In some cases,
a portion of that Florida land is still owned by the Seminole and Black Seminole descendants in Florida.
Under the comparatively free conditions, the Black Seminoles ourished. U.S. Army Lieutenant George McCall
recorded his impressions of a Black Seminole community
in 1826:
We found these negroes in possession of
large elds of the nest land, producing large
crops of corn, beans, melons, pumpkins, and

other esculent vegetables. ... I saw, while riding along the borders of the ponds, ne rice
growing; and in the village large corn-cribs
were lled, while the houses were larger and
more comfortable than those of the Indians
Historians estimate that during the 1820s, 800 blacks
were living with the Seminoles.[11] The Black Seminole
settlements were highly militarized, unlike the communities of most of the slaves in the Deep South. The military
nature of the African-Seminole relationship led General
Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who visited several ourishing Black Seminole settlements in the 1800s, to describe
the African Americans as vassals and allies of the Seminole.
In terms of spirituality, the ethnic groups remained distinct. The Seminole followed the nativistic principles
of their Great Spirit. Blacks had a syncretic form of
Christianity brought with them from the plantations. In
general, the blacks never wholly adopted Seminole culture and beliefs, nor were they accepted into Seminole
society. They were not considered Indian.
Most of the blacks spoke Gullah, an Afro-English-based
creole language. This enabled them to communicate better with Anglo-Americans than the Creek or Mikasukispeaking Seminole. The Indians used the blacks as
translators to advance their trading with the British and
other tribes.[12] Together in Florida they developed AfroSeminole Creole, identied in 1978 as a distinct language
by the linguist Ian Hancock. Black Seminoles and Freedmen continued to speak Afro-Seminole Creole through
the 19th century in Oklahoma. Hancock found that in
1978, some Black Seminole and Seminole elders still
spoke it in Oklahoma and in Florida.[2]

from Cape Florida to the Bahamas. Hundreds left in the

early 1820s after the United States acquired the territory from Spain, eective 1821. Contemporary accounts
noted a group of 120 migrating in 1821, and a much
larger group of 300 African-American slaves escaping
in 1823, picked up by Bahamians in 27 sloops and also
by canoes.[15] Their concern about living under American rule was not unwarranted. In 1821, Andrew Jackson
became the territorial governor of Florida and ordered
an attack on Angola, a village built by Black Seminoles
and other free blacks on the south of Tampa Bay on the
Manatee River. Raiders captured over 250 people, most
of whom were sold into slavery. Some of the survivors
ed to the Florida interior and others to Floridas east
coast and escaped to the Bahamas.[16][17][18] In the Bahamas, the Black Seminoles developed a village known
as Red Bays on Andros, where basket making and certain grave rituals associated with Seminole traditions are
still practiced.[19] Federal construction and stang of the
Cape Florida Lighthouse in 1825 reduced the number of
slave escapes from this site.

Massacre of the Whites by the Indians and Blacks in Florida,

engraving by D.F. Blanchard for an 1836 account of the Dade
Massacre at the outset of the Second Seminole War (183542).

The Second Seminole War (183542) marked the height

of tension between the U.S. and the Seminoles, and also
the historical peak of the African-Seminole alliance. Under the policy of Indian removal, the US wanted to re4 Seminole Wars
locate Floridas 4,000 Seminole people and most of their
800 Black Seminole allies to the western Indian Territory.
After winning independence in the Revolution, AmerDuring the year before the war, prominent white citizens
ican slaveholders were increasingly worried about the captured and claimed as fugitive slaves at least 100 Black
armed black communities in Florida. The territory was
ruled again by Spain, as Britain had ceded it East and
West Florida. The US slaveholders sought the capture Anticipating attempts to re-enslave more members of
and return of Floridas black fugitives under the Treaty their community, Black Seminoles opposed removal to
of New York (1790), the rst treaty ratied under the the West. In councils before the war, they threw their
support behind the most militant Seminole faction, led by
Osceola. After war broke out, individual black leaders,
Wanting to disrupt Floridas maroon communities af- such as John Caesar, Abraham, and John Horse, played
ter the War of 1812, General Andrew Jackson attacked key roles.[20] In addition to aiding the Indians in their
the Negro Fort, which had become a Black Seminole ght, Black Seminoles recruited plantation slaves to restronghold after the British left Florida. Breaking up the bellion at the start of the war. The slaves joined Indians
maroon communities was one of Jacksons major objec- and maroons in the destruction of 21 sugar plantations
tives in the First Seminole War (181718).[14]
from Christmas Day, December 25, 1835, through the
Under pressure, the Indian and black communities moved summer of 1836. Historians do not agree on whether
into south and central Florida. Slaves and Black Semi- these events should be considered a separate slave rebelnoles frequently migrated down the peninsula to escape lion; generally they view the attacks on the sugar planta-


tions as part of the Seminole War.[21]

By 1838, U.S. General Thomas Sydney Jesup tried to divide the black and Seminole warriors by oering freedom
to the blacks if they surrendered and agreed to removal to
Indian Territory. John Horse was among the black warriors who surrendered under this condition. Due to Seminole opposition, however, the Army did not fully follow
through on its oer. After 1838, more than 500 Black
Seminoles traveled with the Seminoles thousands of miles
to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma; some
traveled by ship across the Gulf of Mexico and up the
Mississippi River. Because of harsh conditions, many of
both peoples died along this trail from Florida to Oklahoma, also known as The Trail of Tears.
The status of Black Seminoles and fugitive slaves was
largely unsettled after they reached Indian Territory.
The issue was compounded by the governments initially
putting the Seminole and blacks under the administration
of the Creek Nation, many of whom were slaveholders.[8]
The Creek tried to re-enslave some of the fugitive black
slaves. John Horse and others set up towns, generally
near Seminole settlements, repeating their pattern from

In the West and Mexico

Key locations in the 19th-century odyssey of the Black Seminoles,

from Florida to Mexico.

In the west, the Black Seminoles were still threatened by

slave raiders. These included pro-slavery members of the
Creek tribe and some Seminole, whose allegiance to the
blacks diminished after defeat by the US in the war. Ofcers of the federal army may have tried to protect the
Black Seminoles, but in 1848 the U.S. Attorney General
bowed to pro-slavery lobbyists and ordered the army to
disarm the community.[22] This left hundreds of Seminoles and Black Seminoles unable to leave the settlement
or to defend themselves against slavers.

a mass escape in 1849 to northern Mexico, where slavery

had been abolished twenty years earlier. The black fugitives crossed to freedom in July 1850.[2] They rode with a
faction of traditionalist Seminole under the Indian chief
Coacochee, who led the expedition. The Mexican government welcomed the Seminole allies as border guards on
the frontier, and they settled at Nacimiento, Coahuila.[23]
After 1861, the Black Seminoles in Mexico and Texas
(see below) had little contact with those in Oklahoma.
For the next 20 years, Black Seminoles served as militiamen and Indian ghters in Mexico, where they became
known as los mascogos, derived from the tribal name of
the Creek - Muskogee.[24] Slave raiders from Texas continued to threaten the community but arms and reinforcements from the Mexican Army enabled the black warriors
to defend their community.[25] By the 1940s, descendants
of the Mascogos numbered 400-500 in Nacimiento de
los Negros, Coahuila, inhabiting lands adjacent to the
Kickapoo tribe. They had a thriving agricultural community. By the 1990s, most of the descendants had moved
into Texas.[26]

5.2 Indian Territory/Oklahoma

Throughout the period, several hundred Black Seminoles remained in the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Because most of the Seminole and the other Five
Civilized Tribes supported the Confederacy during the
American Civil War, in 1866 the US required new peace
treaties with them. The US required the tribes emancipate any slaves and extend to the freedmen full citizenship
rights in the tribes if they chose to stay in Indian Territory. In the late nineteenth century, Seminole Freedmen
thrived in towns near the Seminole communities on the
reservation. Most had not been living as slaves to the Indians before the war. They lived as their descendants
still do in and around Wewoka, Oklahoma, the community founded in 1849 by John Horse as a black settlement. Today it is the capital of the federally recognized
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.
Following the Civil War, some Freedmens leaders in Indian Territory practiced polygyny, as did ethnic African
leaders in other diaspora communities.[27] In 1900 there
were 1,000 Freedmen listed in the population of the
Seminole Nation in Indian Territory, about one-third of
the total. By the time of the Dawes Rolls, there were
numerous female-headed households registered. The
Freedmens towns were made up of large, closely connected families.

After allotment, "[f]reedmen, unlike their [Indian] peers

on the blood roll, were permitted to sell their land without
clearing the transaction through the Indian Bureau. That
made the poorly educated Freedmen easy marks for white
5.1 Migration to Mexico
settlers migrating from the Deep South.[28] Numerous
Facing the threat of enslavement, the Black Seminole Seminole Freedmen lost their land in the early decades
leader John Horse and about 180 Black Seminoles staged after allotment, and some moved to urban areas. Others

left the state because of its conditions of racial segregation. As US citizens, they were exposed to the harsher
racial laws of Oklahoma.
Since 1954, the Freedmen have been included in the constitution of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. They have
two bands, each representing more than one town and
named for 19th-century band leaders: the Cesar Bruner
band covers towns south of Little River; the Dosar Barkus
covers the several towns located north of the river. Each
of the bands elects two representatives to the General
Council of the Seminole Nation.


Texas community

In 1870, the U.S. Army invited Black Seminoles to return from Mexico to serve as army scouts for the United
States. The Black Seminole Scouts (originally an African
American unit despite the name) played a lead role in the
Texas-Indian Wars of the 1870s, when they were based
at Fort Clark, Texas, the home of the Bualo Soldiers.
The scouts became famous for their tracking abilities and
feats of endurance. Four men were awarded the Medal of
Honor, three for an 1875 action against the Comanche.[2]
After the close of the Texas Indian Wars, the scouts remained stationed at Fort Clark in Brackettville, Texas.
The Army disbanded the unit in 1914. The veterans
and their families settled in and around Brackettville,
where scouts and family members were buried in its
cemetery. The town remains the spiritual center of the
Texas-based Black Seminoles.[29] In 1981, descendants
at Brackettville and the Little River community of Oklahoma met for the rst time in more than a century, in
Texas for a Juneteenth reunion and celebration.[30]

Florida and Bahamas

Black Seminole descendants continue to live in Florida

today. They can enroll in the Seminole Tribe of Florida
if they meet its membership criteria for blood quantum:
one-quarter Seminole Indian ancestry. About 50 Black
Seminoles, all of whom have at least one-quarter Seminole ancestry, live on the Fort Pierce Reservation, a 50acre parcel taken in trust in 1995 by the Department of
Interior for the Tribe as its sixth reservation.[31]
Descendants of Black Seminoles, who identify as Bahamian, reside on Andros Island in the Bahamas. A few
hundred refugees had left in the early nineteenth century from Cape Florida to go to the British-held islands
for sanctuary from American enslavement.[32] After banning the international slave trade in 1808, in 1818 Britain
held that slaves brought to the Bahamas from outside the
British West Indies would be manumitted.[33][34] In 1834
Britain abolished slavery in these colonies and Bermuda.
They have been sometimes referred to as Black Indians,
in recognition of their history.

7 Seminole Freedmen exclusion

In 1900, Seminole Freedmen numbered about 1,000 on
the Oklahoma reservation, about one-third of the total
population at the time. Members were registered on the
Dawes Rolls for allocation of communal land to individual households.[35] Since then, numerous Freedmen left
after losing their land, as their land sales were not overseen by the Indian Bureau. Others left because of having
to deal with the harshly segregated society of Oklahoma.
The land allotments and participation in Oklahoma society altered relations between the Seminole and Freedmen, particularly after the 1930s. Both peoples faced
racial discrimination from whites in Oklahoma, who essentially divided society into two: white and other.
Public schools and facilities were racially segregated.
When the tribe reorganized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, some Seminole wanted to exclude the
Freedmen and keep the tribe as Indian only. It was not
until the 1950s that the Black Seminole were ocially
recognized in the constitution. Another was adopted
in 1969, that restructured the government according to
more traditional Seminole lines. It established 14 town
bands, of which two represented Freedmen. The two
Freedmens bands were given two seats each, like other
bands, on the Seminole General Council.
There have been battles over tribal membership across
the country, as gambling revenues and federal land payments have given Indians something to ght over.[36]
In 2000, Seminole Freedmen were in the national news
because of a legal dispute with the Seminole Nation of
Oklahoma, of which they had been legal members since
1866, over membership and rights within the tribe.
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma held the Black Seminoles could not share in services to be provided by a $56
million federal settlement, a judgment trust, originally
awarded in 1976 to the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
and the Seminole Tribe of Florida (and other Florida
Seminoles) by the federal government.[37] The settlement
was in compensation for land taken from them in northern Florida by the United States at the time of the signing
of the Treaty of Moultrie Creek in 1823, when most of
the Seminole and maroons were moved to a reservation in
the center of the territory. This was before removal west
of the Mississippi.[37]
The judgment trust was based on the Seminole tribe as
it existed in 1823. Black Seminoles were not recognized
legally as part of the tribe, nor was their ownership or
occupancy of land separately recognized. The US government at the time would have assumed most were fugitive slaves, without legal standing. The Oklahoma and
Florida groups were awarded portions of the judgment related to their respective populations in the early 20th century, when records were made of the mostly full-blood de-

scendants of the time.[37] The settlement apportionment
was disputed in court cases between the Oklahoma and
Florida tribes, but nally awarded in 1990, with threequarters going to the Oklahoma people and one-quarter
to those in Florida.
However, the Black Seminole descendants asserted their
ancestors had also held and farmed land in Florida, and
suered property losses as a result of US actions. They
led suit in 1996 against the Department of Interior to
share in the benets of the judgment trust of the Seminole
Nation of Oklahoma, of which they were members.[36][38]
In another aspect of the dispute over citizenship, in the
summer of 2000 the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma voted
to restrict members, according to blood quantum, to those
who had one-eighth Seminole Indian ancestry,[30] basically those who could document descent from a Seminole
Indian ancestor listed on the Dawes Rolls, the federal registry established in the early 20th century. At the time,
during rushed conditions, registrars had separate lists for
Seminole-Indians and Freedmen. They classied those
with visible African ancestry as Freedmen, regardless of
their proportion of Indian ancestry or whether they were
considered Indian members of the tribe at the time. This
excluded some Black Seminole from being listed on the
Seminole-Indian list who qualied by ancestry.[36]
The Dawes Rolls included in the Seminole-Indian list
many Intermarried Whites who lived on Indian lands, but
did not include blacks of the same status. The Seminole Freedmen believed the tribes 21st-century decision
to exclude them was racially based and has opposed it
on those grounds. The Department of Interior said that
it would not recognize a Seminole government that did
not have Seminole Freedmen participating as voters and
on the council, as they had ocially been members of
the nation since 1866. In October 2000, the Seminole
Nation led its own suit against the Interior Department,
contending it had the sovereign right to determine tribal


stopped federal funding for a time for services and programs to the Seminole.
The individual Certicate of Degree of Indian Blood
(CDIB) is based on registration of ancestors in the Indian lists of the Dawes Rolls. Although the BIA could
not issue CDIBs to the Seminole Freedmen, in 2003 the
agency recognized them as members of the tribe and advised them of continuing benets for which they were
eligible.[41] Journalists theorized the decision could affect the similar case in which the Cherokee Nation of
Oklahoma excluded Cherokee Freedmen as members unless they could document a direct Indian ancestor on the
Dawes Rolls.[41]

8 Notable Black Seminoles

Dosar Barkus, band leader from 1892 through allotment, namesake for contemporary band[42]
Cesar Bruner, band leader from Reconstruction
through statehood, namesake for contemporary
John Horse, leader at the time of removal, founder
of Wewoka, and co-leader of 1849 escape to northern Mexico

9 Legacy and honors

In April 2002, the Seminole Freedmens suit against the

government was dismissed in federal district court; the
court ruled the Freedmen could not bring suit independently of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, which refused to join.[39] They appealed to the United States
Supreme Court, which in June 2004 armed that the
Seminole Freedmen could not sue the federal government
for inclusion in the settlement without the Seminole Nation joining. As a sovereign nation, they could not be Network to Freedom Trail sign commemorating hundreds of
ordered to join the suit.[40]
Black Seminoles who escaped from Cape Florida in the early
Later that year, the Bureau of Indian Aairs held that the 1820s to the Bahamas.
exclusion of Black Seminoles constituted a violation of
the Seminole Nations 1866 treaty with the United States
Fort Mose Historic State Park in Florida is a
following the American Civil War. They noted that the
National Historic Landmark at the site of the rst
treaty was made with a tribe that included black as well as
free black community in the United States
white and brown members. The treaty had required the
Seminole to emancipate their slaves, and to give the Semi Four Black Seminole Scouts were awarded the
nole Freedmen full citizenship and voting rights. The BIA
Medal of Honor.

A large sign at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
commemorates the site where hundreds of Africa
Americans escaped to freedom in the Bahamas in
the early 1820s, as part of the National Underground
Railroad Network to Freedom Trail.[15]
A sign at the Manatee Mineral Spring marks the location where traces of Angola were uncovered [44]
Red Bays, Andros, the historic settlement of Black
Seminoles in the Bahamas, and Nacimiento, Mexico
are being recognized as related international sites on
the Network to Freedom Trail.[15]


See also

Afro-Seminole Creole
Black Indians in the United States
Black Seminole Scouts
Ian Hancock
List of topics related to Black and African people
One-Drop Rule



[1] Mulroy (2004), pp. 474-475.

[2] Joseph A. Opala. Black Seminoles - Gullahs Who Escaped From Slavery. The Gullah: Rice, Slavery, and the
Sierra Leone-American Connection - Website. Yale University, Gilder Lehrman Center. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
[3] Landers Black Society in Spanish Florida, p. 25, citing
Royal Decree of Charles II.
[4] Sturtevant Creek into Seminole 102105; Wright, 106,
Mahon History of the Second Seminole War 7; Simmons,
Notices of East Florida, 5455.

[10] McCall, George A. (1868). Letters from the Frontiers. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott. p. 160. ISBN
[11] http://slaveryinamerica.org/history/hs_es_indians_
[12] Seminole, Slavery in America.
[13] Miller Treaties and Other International Acts of the United
States 2: 344, Twyman, The Black Seminole Legacy and
Northern American Politics, pp. 7879.
[14] United States American State Papers: Foreign Aairs 4:
55961, Army Navy Chronicle 2: 1146, Mahon 6566.
[15] Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Network to Freedom, National Park Service, 2010, accessed April 10,
[16] Excavators seeking freedom pioneers - St. Pete Times.
Sptimes.com. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
[17] Looking for Angola. Looking for Angola. Retrieved
[18] Uzi Baram. (2012) Cosmopolitan Meanings of Old Spanish Fields: Historical Archaeology of a Maroon Community in Southwest Florida Historical Archaeology
[19] Howard, Rosalyn. (2006) The 'Wild Indians of Andros
Island: Black Seminole Legacy in the Bahamas, Journal
of Black Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 275298.
[20] Mahon 69134; Porter Black 2552.
[21] Brown, Race Relations in Territorial Florida, 304; Rivers,
Slavery in Florida, 203.
[22] Porter Black 97, 111123, United States Attorney
General Ocial Opinions 4: 72029, Giddings Exiles of
Florida 32728, Foreman The Five Civilized Tribes 257,
Littleeld Africans and Seminoles 12225.
[23] Foster 4243; Mulroy 58; Porter, Black, 13031.

[5] The USF Africana Heritage Project: Black Seminoles,

Maroons and Freedom Seekers in Florida, Part 1. www.
africanaheritage.com. Retrieved 2009-08-04.

[24] http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/history/hs_es_indians_

[6] Wright Creeks and Seminoles 8591.

[25] Mulroy 5673, Porter Black 124147.

[7] Mulroy Freedom on the Border 11.

[8] Trac Etienne-Gray. Black Seminole Indians. Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
[9] Kashif, Annette. Africanisms Upon the Land: A Study
of African Inuenced Placenames of the USA, In Places
of Cultural Memory: African Reections on the American Landscape, Washington, DC: National Park Service,

[26] Mulroy (2004), p. 471.

[27] Mulroy (2007), Seminole Freedmen
[28] Blood Feud, Wired Magazine, Vol. 13.09, August 2005.
[29] Porter Black 175216, Wallace Ranald S. Mackenzie


[30] Mulroy (2004), pp. 472-473.

[31] Mike Clary (November 26, 2007). On Fort Pierce Reservation, black Seminoles complain of isolation. South
Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
[32] Goggin, The Seminole Negroes of Andros Island, pp.
2016, Mulroy, 26.
[33] Appendix: Brigs Encomium and Enterprise, Register of
Debates in Congress, Gales & Seaton, 1837, p. 251-253.
Note: In trying to retrieve American slaves o the Encomium from colonial ocials (who freed them), the US
consul in February 1834 was told by the Lieutenant Governor that he was acting in regard to the slaves under an
opinion of 1818 by Sir Christopher Robinson and Lord
Giord to the British Secretary of State.
[34] Gerald Horne, Negro Comrades of the Crown: African
Americans and the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before
Emancipation, New York University (NYU) Press, 2012,
p. 103.
[35] Mulroy (2004), p. 473.
[36] William Glaberson, Who Is a Seminole, and Who Gets
to Decide?", New York Times, January 29, 2001, April 11,
[37] Bill Drummond, Indian Land Claims Unsettled 150
Years After Jackson Wars, LA Times/Washington Post
News Service, printed in Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 20, 1978, accessed April 13, 2013.
[38] Race part of Seminole dispute, Indianz.com, January
29, 2001, accessed April 11, 2013.
[39] Seminole Freedmen lawsuit dismissed, Indianz.com,
April 10, 2002, accessed October 9, 2009.
[40] Seminole Freedmen rebued by Supreme Court. Indianz.Com. June 29, 2004. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
[41] Monica Keen, Seminole Outcome May Aect Cherokee
Freedmen, Sequoyah County Times, November 4, 2003,
accessed April 10, 2013.
[42] Mulroney (2007), Seminole Freedmen, pp. 269-271.
[43] Mulroney (2007), Seminole Freedmen, p. 271.
[44] Uzi Baram 2014 Many Histories by the Manatee Mineral Spring.
Time Sifters Archaeohttp:
logical Society Newsletter March 2014.


Primary sources

McCall, George A. Letters From the Frontiers.

Philadelphia: Lippincot & Co., 1868.


Miller, David Hunter, ed. Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. 2 vols.
Washington: GPO, 1931.
United States. Attorney-General. Ocial Opinions
of the Attorneys General of the United States. Washington: United States, 18521870.
United States. Congress. American State Papers:
Foreign Relations. Vol 4. Washington: Gales and
Seaton, 18321860.
United States. Congress. American State Papers:
Military Aairs. 7 vols. Washington: Gales and
Seaton, 18321860.

12.2 Secondary sources

Akil II, Bakari. Seminoles With African Ancestry:
The Right To Heritage, The Black World Today,
December 27, 2003.
Army and Navy Chronicle. 13 vols. Washington: B.
Homans, 18351842.
Baram, Uzi. Cosmopolitan Meanings of Old Spanish Fields: Historical Archaeology of a Maroon
Community in Southwest Florida Historical Archaeology 46(1):108-122. 2012
Baram, Uzi. Many Histories by the Manatee Mineral Spring. Time Sifters Archaeological Society
Newsletter March 2014.
Brown, Canter. Race Relations in Territorial
Florida, 18211845. Florida Historical Quarterly
73.3 (January 1995): 287307.
Foreman, Grant. The Five Civilized Tribes. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1934.
Foster, Laurence. Negro-Indian Relations in the
Southeast. PhD. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1935.
Giddings, Joshua R. The Exiles of Florida, or, crimes
committed by our government against maroons, who
ed from South Carolina and other slave states, seeking protection under Spanish laws. Columbus, Ohio:
Follet, 1858.
Goggin, John M. The Seminole Negroes of Andros Island, Bahamas. Florida Historical Quarterly
24 (July 1946): 201-6.
Hancock, Ian F. The Texas Seminoles and Their
Language. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980.
Indianz.com (2004). Seminole Freedmen rebued
by Supreme Court, June 29, 2004.

Kashif, Annette. Africanisms Upon the Land:
A Study of African Inuenced Placenames of the
USA, In Places of Cultural Memory: African Reections on the American Landscape. Washington,
DC: National Park Service, 2001.

13 Further reading
Hancock, Ian F. A Provisional Comparison of the
English-based Atlantic Creoles, Sierra Leone Language Review, 8 (1969), 7=72.

Landers, Jane. Black Society in Spanish Florida. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Gullah and Barbadian: Origins and Relationships. American Speech, 55 (1) (1980), 17-35.

Littleeld, Daniel F., Jr. Africans and Seminoles.

Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1977.

The Texas Seminoles and their Language,

Austin: University of Texas African and AfroAmerican Studies and Research Center, Series 2,
No. 1, 1980.

Mahon, John K. History of the Second Seminole War,

18351842. 1967. Gainesville: University Press of
Florida, 1985.
Mulroy, Kevin. Freedom on the Border: The
Seminole Maroons in Florida, the Indian Territory,
Coahuila, and Texas. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1993.

Howard, Rosalyn A. Black Seminoles in the Bahamas, Gainesville: University of Florida, 2002
Littleeld, Daniel C. Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity
and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina,
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press,
1981/1991, University of Illinois Press.

Mulroy, Kevin. The Seminole Freedmen: A History

(Race and Culture in the American West), Norman,
OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007.

Littleeld, Daniel F. Jr. Africans and Seminoles:

From Removal to Emancipation, University of Mississippi Press, 1977.

Porter, Kenneth Wiggins. The Black Seminoles: History of a Freedom-Seeking People. Eds Thomas Senter and Alcione Amos. Gainesville: University of
Florida Press, 1996.

Opala, Joseph A. A Brief History of the Seminole

Freedmen, Austin: University of Texas African and
Afro-American Studies and Research Center, Series
2, No. 3, 1980.

Porter, Kenneth Wiggins. The Negro on the American Frontier. New York: Arno Press, 1971.

Seminole-African Relations on the Florida

Frontier, Papers in Anthropology (University of
Oklahoma), 22 (1) (1981), 11-52.

Rivers, Larry Eugene.

Slavery in Florida.
Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000.
Schneider, Pamela S. Its Not Funny: Various Aspects
of Black History Charlotte PA: Lemieux Press Publishers, 2005.
Simmons, William. Notices of East Florida: with an
account of the Seminole nation of Indians, 1822. Intro. George E. Buker. Gainesville: University Press
of Florida, 1973, available online.
Sturtevant, William C. Creek into Seminole.
North American Indians in Historical Perspective.
Eds Eleanor B. Leacock and Nancy O. Lurie. New
York: Random House, 1971.
Twyman, Bruce Edward. The Black Seminole
Legacy and Northern American Politics, 16931845.
Washington: Howard University Press, 1999.
Wallace, Ernest. Ranald S. Mackenzie on the Texas
Frontier. College Station: Texas A&M University
Press, 1993.
Wright, J. Leitch, Jr. Creeks and Seminoles: The Destruction and Regeneration of the Muscogulge People.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986.

14 External links
Bird, J.B (2005). The Largest Slave Rebellion in
U.S. History, Rebellion: John Horse and the Black
Seminoles Website
Bill Hubbard, Story of Freedman Caesar Bruner,
c. 1958, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma website
Seminole and Black Seminole genealogical records,
Freepages GenWeb
Blood Feud, Wired Magazine, Vol. 13.09, August
2005, article on DNA, ethnicity, and Black Seminoles
Black Indians, ColorQWorld





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