Forgotten Rebellion: Black Seminoles and the Largest Slave Revolt in U.S. History

Historian Amy Sturgis recounts history that seems made for the movies but hasn’t made it to the big screen. It’s a decades-long story of oppression and freedom fighting. Why hasn’t there been more attention paid to John Horse and the Black Seminoles?

Prof. Sturgis argues that John Horse and the Black Seminoles deserve to be remembered for a number of reasons:

  • They created the largest haven in the U.S. South for runaway slaves.
  • They led the largest slave revolt in U.S. history.
  • They secured the only emancipation of rebellious slaves prior to the U.S. Civil War.
  • The formed the largest mass exodus of slaves across the United States and, ultimately, to Mexico.

Learn more about this remarkable story that has been overlooked by film makers, popular culture, and, importantly, historians of slavery. This story has fallen through the cracks, in part because it blends the history of Native Americans and of slaves and in part because it represents a blemish in U.S. history. But this group of freedom fighters—who ultimately found peace, liberty, and prosperity—is worth remembering.

12 Comments

  1. citizen1111

    I wonder what people who believe in property rights feel about Native Americans, and how they view their loss of their property.

  2. Ryan Boyd

    It is always interesting to see how the United States likes to forget about its often dark past when it comes to the rights of others.

  3. Jorge Arena

    An American Spartacus, historical accounts like this needs to be studied more. 

  4. Jorge Arena

    There loss of property is still something that needs to be resolved. As of right now, what little land that has been returned to them is still managed by the Federal government which makes it impossible for Native Americans to be able to take up loans, credit, etc based on the using the land as collateral . This is why many tribes have had to resort to using Casinos as a way to generate income. If we really want to start to make right by the Native Americans, we need to truly allow them own there land, and do what they see fit period. That would be a great first step. 

  5. diamond_max

    I think some people purposely try to forget some parts of history. It could be because of the hurt or other reasons, history sometimes just isn’t really talked about.There are a lot more Black Indians than people realize in history. There were some mixing with Pawnees, Creeks, Navajos, and even a little Lakota Sioux. It goes the same way in Latin America.

  6. diamond_max

    I think people purposely forget history sometimes. History can hurt and can be forgotten or for other reasons can make it go missing. There are more Black Indians than people realize in the western hemisphere. Tainos, a little Lakota Sioux and their other factions, Pawnees, Navajo, Seminoles, Creeks, Choctaws, and more. It’s quite interesting.

  7. Felix Herrera

    Every piece of history as valuable. And it’s our duty as people to try and get a sense of the past one way or another. This is a very interesting story that I will look into more and also shows that there is still so much more out there to learn. 

  8. Matt Wavle

    What an interesting and never talked about part of our history.  This certainly deserves further study.  http://www.johnhorse.com/black-seminoles/faq-black-seminoles.htm

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