Apr 6, 2011

The Black Revolution No One Told You About
By: Stephanie Robinson

What if I told you that the largest slave rebellion in American history was one no one knows about? Well, we commemorate the successful end of one such rebellion 173 years ago this week…

Some of you may have heard of the Black Seminoles, the free blacks and fugitive slaves who allied with Seminole Indians during the 1800s. These communities of fugitive and free Africans interacting with Indians were not uncommon during slavery, but this one was the largest in North America.

As America expanded, President Andrew Jackson signed the 1830 Indian Removal Act forcing native populations east of the Mississippi west on an infamous trek now known as the "Trail of Tears." Many Native Americans were murdered and displaced.

However, the Seminoles of the Florida territory were not having it. Numerous Black Seminoles quietly organized their enslaved brethren on nearby plantations and, in December of 1835, the Second Seminole War broke out as the Black/Indian alliance launched coordinated attacks on U.S. territorial establishments.

From 1835 to 1838, a free, landowning and successful brother named John Horse led the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history. At the height of the revolt in 1836, at least 400 escaped Africans fought alongside the black and Indian allies (for an estimated total of over 1000 black warriors) decimating over 21 of North America's largest and richest sugar plantations.

Although the U.S. troops were failing miserably, 1836 marked a turning point as President Jackson appointed Gen. Thomas Sydney Jesup to head the Florida effort. From the start, he offered this telltale warning:

"This, you may be assured, is a Negro, not an Indian war…."



1 comment:

  1. First: You're darn skippy I never heard about this.

    Second: Thank You for posting this!

    I love learning new information about ANYTHING related to Black (and Native)-American history.