Black Seminoles defeat U.S. troops at Okeechobee

Chief John
Sat, 1831-12-24

On this date in 1831, during the Second Seminole War, a force of Seminole Indians defeated U.S. troops in the Battle of Okeechobee in Florida.

Chief John Horse (a Black man) shared command with Alligator Sam Jones and Wild Cat. Blacks had a reputation as “fearless” fighters in the numerous battles with U.S. troops. Blacks also served with the American troops as scouts, interpreters, and even spies. In 1849, the U.S. attorney general's office ruled that Black Seminoles were slaves by law. The U.S. government actively promoted slavery among relocated Native American tribes.

Even tribes who had never practiced slavery before were encouraged to do so. It was in the same year that John Horse founded the city of Wewoka in Oklahoma. It served as a refuge for runaway slaves.

Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and
African American Experience
Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1999
ISBN 0-465-0071-1