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In the Saddle: History of the Black Jockey

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

The image of a cast iron black lawn jockey statue, with its exaggerated stereotypical facial characteristics, sitting on a front lawn conjures up thoughts of racism.  Due to the almost total absence of blacks in the sport today, many do not even realize that there is an historical context to the image of a black jockey. 

In the sport of Horse Racing, it is rare today to see Blacks in the saddle.  In fact, in the 2000 Kentucky Derby, Marlon St. Julien became the first black jockey to race in the Kentucky Derby since 1921.  Yet, in the early post-Civil War era, black jockeys dominated the sport.

Horse racing was America’s first national sport and it was America’s first integrated sport. (Civil War America, 1850 to 1875 by Richard F. Selcer, New York: Infobase Publishing, 2006, pg. 406)  During slavery, blacks were stable hands, horse trainers and jockeys.  The black jockeys were afforded freedoms that other slaves were not, often being able to travel away from the plantation, sometimes even without the accompaniment of a white supervisor. 

In the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, 13 of the 15 jockeys were African-American, and the Derby winner, Oliver Lewis, was African American.  Black Jockeys won 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbies. 

The biggest name in the sport in the Nineteenth century was Isaac Murphy.  Murphy rode in 1,412 races and won 628 of them, an unprecedented 44 percent winning percentage, the best winning record of all time.  (A Concise History of Kentucky by James C Klotter & Freda C. Klotter, Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2008, pg.80)  He became the first jockey to win three Kentucky Derbies. Murphy was also the first jockey elected to the Hall of Fame.

Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton, at age 15, won the Kentucky Derby in 1892.  He still shares the record as the youngest winner of the Kentucky Derby.

James “Soup” Perkins won 192 races in 1895, which earned him the title of national champion.  He shares the distinction of being the youngest Kentucky Derby winner with Alonzo Clayton, winning the Derby in 1895.

Willie Simms won the Kentucky Derby in 1898.  He was the first rider to shorten his stirrups and ride in a crouching position, a style that is now the norm in modern times.  By the time Simms retired in 1901, he had amassed a total of $300,000 in earnings. (Sports in American History: from Colonization to Globalization by Gerald R Gems, Linda J. Borish, and Gertrud Pfister, Champaign: Human Kinetics, 2008, pg. 207) 

Jimmy Winkfield is one of only four jockeys to win back-to-back Derbies, winning in 1902 (on His Eminence) and 1902 (On Alan-A-Dale).  He was also the last black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. Winkfield joined Murphy and Simms in the National Racing Hall of Fame.

By the 1900s, there was a concerted effort in place to remove blacks from the sport.  As Jim Crow laws intensified segregation, blacks were marginalized to the fringes of the sport.  Blacks found it increasing more difficult to get licenses to race when the Jockey Club, a licensing agency formed in 1894, banned black membership.  (Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States by George B. Kirsch, Othello Harris, and Elaine Nolte, Westwood: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000, pg. 5) White jockeys even colluded in races to knock them off their horses, block them in, or force them into the rails. By 1921, there were very few black Jockeys left in American Horse Racing.  Many black jockeys were forced to resume their racing careers in Europe.  Jimmie Winkfield left the United States and moved to czarist Russia, becoming a wealthy and dominant force in Russia’s national sport. Winkfield retired in France after winning 2,600 races in ten different countries.

 The great black out in Horse Racing is a major stain on the fabric of the sport, but no one can deny the great history and contributions that black jockeys brought to racing.

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Prized Possessions: Prime Real Estate Black Land Owners in Early America

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Early in the history of America, blacks had owned some of the most sought after real estate in the country.  Around 1790, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable, a French speaking free black man, founded the city of Chicago.  The property that he once owned includes real estate from the banks of the Chicago River north to Chicago Avenue and from State Street east to the lake.  His land also included what is now Chicago’s ”magnificent mile”, one of the richest real estate areas in the world.  The area that DuSable owned now estimated over billions of dollars in value.

The City of Los Angeles was founded by a group of eleven families, totaling a combined 44 people.  Of the 44 people, 26 were black. (Black People Who Made the Old West by William Loren Katz, Trenton: Africa World Press, 1992, pg. 73)  Maria Rita Valdez, a granddaughter of two of those founders, owned Rancho Rodeo de Las Aguas, which is known today as Beverly Hills.  Francisco Reyes owned the entire San Fernando Valley.  William Leidesdorff owned a 35,000-acre estate he called Rio del Rancho Americana.

In New York, blacks once owned land that included parts of what is present day Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park.  Blacks also owned an community, called Seneca Village, which was demolished in order to create Central Park in the 1800’s.  A Black woman, Annie D’Angola, owned the land on which Madison Square Garden now stands.   In the mid 1600s, the Dutch, who were having major skirmishes with the Indians, freed some of their slaves and granted them land in exchange of a yearly allotment of crop supplies.  This was done to provide a buffer between themselves and the Indians.  The land these freed blacks owned stretched from Wall Street to 34th Street.  Blacks also owned the area that City Hall stands on today.  The British eventually took the land from them after they took over New Netherland in 1664.

Black Presence in the Ancient British Isles

October 15, 2010 7 comments

One of the most under explored  topics in the study of ancient history is the black presence in ancient Europe.  A black presence can be found in the British Isles as far back as prehistoric times. 

The Silures were the most ancient inhabitants of Britain.  (The Theosophical Path, vol. 3 by Katherine Tingley, California: The New Century Corporation, 1912, pg. 136)  The Silures possessed south Wales and western England, and their chief cities were Sariconium, Magna, Gobabeum, and their capital city, Venta.  The land of the Silures was only thirty miles from Ireland.

That the Silures were black does not need to be questioned.  They were described as short in stature, with brown complexions, and black curled hair and dark eyes.  In the second century A.D., the Roman historian Pliny described the Britons complexions as “Ethiopian.” (African Presence in Early Europe by Ivan Van Sertima, ed. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2007, pg. 225)  In his book, Memoirs of the Celts of Gauls, Joseph Ritson gives this assessment regarding the Silures origins:

“The swarthy complexion of the Silures, and their hair, which is generally curled, with their situation opposite to the coast of Spain, furnished ground to believe, that the ancient Iberians had arrived from thence, and taken possession of the territory.” (Memoirs of the Celts or Gauls by Joseph Ritson, London: Payne and Foss, 1827, pg. 114) 

The Silures were identical with the small, dark, long-headed Basque-speaking people found in the western Pyrenees, who were a fragment of the Iberians. (Our Earliest Ancestors in Britain by Boyd Dawkins, London: John Heyward, 1879, pg. 104)  The Iberians were the early inhabitants of Spain.  Wesley John Gaines insists that the Iberians came from North Africa. (The Negro and the White Man by Wesley John Gaines, Philadelphia: A.M.E. Publishing House, 1897, pg. 11)  It is important to note that Iberia and North Africa are separated by a mere thirteen kilometers at the narrowest point of the Strait of Gibraltar.  Pliny described the Iberians complexion as aethiopium, i.e. black as an Ethiopian. (Ancient and Modern Britons: a retrospect, Vol. 3 by David MacRitchie, London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1884, pg. 45)

The Roman historian Tacitus also noted that the Silures were a dark complexioned people. (The Anthropological Review, Vol. 8 by Anthropological Society of London, London: Asher & Co., 1870, pg. 202)  J.A. Rogers believed they were very likely of Phoenician or Egyptian descent. (Nature Knows No Color Line by J.A. Rogers, St. Petersburg: Helga M. Rogers, 1980, pg. 71)

The Silures were the strongest and most organized state in Britain.  They were considered “one of the bravest of the ancient British nations, and defended their country and their liberty against the Romans, with the most heroic fortitude.” (A New History of Great Britain from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Present Time by Rev. John Adams, London: T.N. Longman & O. Rees, and T. Hurst, 1802, pg. 13)  They were known to be “stubbornly independent.” (The Foundation of England, Vol. I by Sir James H. Ramsay, London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co. LTD, 1898, pg. 57)  It was because they refused to be dominated by outsiders that they fought so hard for their freedom.  Julius Caesar led a Roman invasion of Britain in 55 BC.  It took the Romans more than thirty years to subdue the Silures.” (Origins of English History by Charles Isaac Elton, London: Bernard Quaritch, 1890, pg. 138)

Interestingly, in the many books and movies made about King Arthur, very few mention that King Arthur was the king of a group of black people.  In the legend of King Arthur, he was the king of the Silures who held back the advances of the Saxons for a time. 

Another group of blacks in the ancient British Isles were the Picts.  David MacRitchie called the Picts “Moors” (i.e. black), and then states that it was clear that the Silures were Picts. (Ancient and Modern Britons: a Retrospect, Vol. 3 by David MacRitchie, London: Kegan Paul, Tench & Co., 1884, pg. 187)  The Picts are acknowledged as the earliest inhabitants of Scotland.  They ruled Scotland for more than 500 years.  The term Pict means “painted or tattooed.”  The term was used by the Romans to describe inhabitants in the second century AD.  The first documented appearance of the term was in a work by Eumenius in 297 AD.   They were the inhabitants of the highlands of Scotland who lived in northern and eastern Scotland between 200 and 850 AD.  Joseph Ritson was quite specific about his description of these highlanders:

“The Highlanders are generally dimunitive, with brown complexions, and almost always with black curled hair and dark eyes.” (Annals of Caledonian, Picts, and Scots by Joseph Ritson, Vol. II, Edinburgh: Ward D. Laing, 1828, footnote pp. 7, 27)

The Silures and the Picts are just examples of the ancient presence of Blacks in the British Isles.  There is evidence that the Egyptians and Phoenicians sailed there and mined there.  The Moors advanced across Italy and  Spain and reaches as far as the British Isles. 

 There are some who deny the Ancient presence of Blacks in the British Isles, but that denial becomes a symbol of ignorance when weighed against the evidence.

The Black Tribe of Judah

October 12, 2010 1 comment

The Tribe of Judah, which is the tribe that Jesus descended from, was a Black Tribe of Hebrews.  Historian Wilson Armistead states quite plainly: “The descendants of a colony of Jews, originally from Judea, settled on the coast of Africa, are black.” (A Tribute for the Negro: Being a Vindication of the Moral, Intellectual, and Religious Capabilities of the Colored Portion of Mankind; with Particular Reference to the African Race by Wilson Armistead. Manchester and London: W. Irwin, 1848, pg. 66)

Judah was the largest Israelite tribe to leave Egypt, which means that of the mixed multitude that left with Moses, Judah was the tribe that was most mixed.  Judah married two different Canaanite women.  Judah had five children between these two women.  All of Judah’s children were Black.  What also needs to be taken into consideration is that out of the 12 tribes of Hebrews that left Egypt, Judah was the largest tribe.  There were over 74,000 people in the Tribe of Judah.  Large numbers of Egyptians left Egypt with the Hebrews during the Exodus, and Judah had the highest population of all the tribes, so it certainly stands to reason that there were large numbers of Blacks among the ranks of Judah.

Sir Godfrey Higgins quoted Mr. Maurice: “The Yadavas were the most venerable emigrants from India; they were the blameless and pious Ethiopians, whom Homer mentions, and calls the remotest of mankind.  Part of them, say the old Hindu writers, remained in this country; and hence we read of two Ethiopian nations, the Western and the Oriental.  Some of them lived far to the East; and they are the Yadavas who stayed in India, while others resided far to the West.  The fact of part of the tribe yet remaining in existence is one of the pieces of circumstances of this kind that I ground my system.  They surpass all written evidence, for they cannot have been forged.  This emigrating tribe of Yadu or Yuda, we shall find of the first importance, for they were no other than the Jews.” (Anacalypsis, Vol. I. by Sir Godfrey Higgins, London:1836, reprinted. Brooklyn:A&B Books Publishers, 1992, pg. 392)

So we can clearly see in this passage that Maurice is stating that the Tribe of Yuda (Judah) and the “blameless and pious Ethiopians” were the same.  Later in the same chapter, Higgins states that there were many Black tribes of Jews in India, who were evidently from the tribe of Judah, who did not have the Pentateuch. (ibid, pg. 399)  This would indicate that they were original Jews, perhaps descendants of Abraham or Jacob, who had branched off from the larger group of Jews before Moses gave the Pentateuch.  This would give us further reason to believe that the earliest Jews were Black.

Judah married Shua, a Canaanite woman.  Shua bore Juda three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah.  When Judah selected a wife for his eldest son Er, he once again chose a Canaanite woman, Tamar.  When Er died, Tamar was a childless widow.  In order to assure the continuity of the family, God established marriage duties of the surviving brother, known as levirate marriages, with the Israelites.   The Bible outlines levirate marriages as follows:

             “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go into her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.  And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel”  (Deut. 25:5-6).

 Based on this practice, it was Judah’s responsibility to see that this was done.  Judah tried to settle this situation by giving Tamar to Er’s brother Onan, but Onan “knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother.  And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore he killed him also” (Gen. 38:9-10).

 After the death of Onan, Judah told Tamar to wait until his younger son, Shelah was grown. In the meantime, the Tribe of Judah was in jeopardy of extinction.  Tamar decided to take matters into her own hands and tricked Judah into sleeping with her, and Judah impregnated her.  She bore twins for Judah: Perez and Zerah.  Perez was an ancestor of Jesus Christ.  Perez and Zerah were half Canaanite, which means that even if Judah were not Black, they would have been at least half Black. 

It also appears that there was an admixture of the Black Midianites with the Tribe of Judah.  Hobab, a Midianite, was a guide for Moses and the Hebrews on their journey to the Promised Land.  Moses promised Hobab land among the Israelites in the Promised Land in exchange for his service (Numbers 10:29).  In Judges 1:16, it shows Hobab’s descendants settled in Israel and became a part of the Tribe of Judah.  Hobab is also called a Kenite, as is Jethro, so it is understood that the Midianites and the Kenites were the same tribe.

 Some Black Judeans fled into Egypt after the destruction of the kingdom of Judah in 587 B.C.  There, they blended in with the other Black people of Egypt.  A half millennium later, Joseph and Mary, both from the tribe of Judah, would travel back into Egypt to protect Jesus from persecution from King Herod.  It would only make sense to flee to a land where you could blend in and avoid detection, which lets us know that Joseph, Mary and Jesus could racially blend in among the Egyptians.  It should also be noted that Strabo mentioned that the people of western Judea are partly from Egyptian ancestry.

When we combine this evidence with the fact that the first century Roman historian Tacitus said that everyone in Rome knew that the Hebrews originated in Ethiopia, we can positively state that the Tribe of Judah was a black tribe, and the original Hebrews were black.

This article is an excerpt taken from Black Bloodlines: Abrahamand the Racial Profiles of the Ancient Hebrews by Calvin R. Evans, McKinney: Saggigga Publishing, 2009, pp. 53-55.

Categories: Black Jews

Andrew Johnson: America’s Most Racist President

October 12, 2010 3 comments

During his controversial tenure, Andrew Johnson has called the most racist of all the American presidents.  As president, Johnson tried everything he could to keep blacks oppressed and disenfranchised.  Johnson was full of racist ideologies.  Johnson was the owner of eight slaves before the Civil War.  He was totally in favor of colonization of blacks.  He favored the annexation of Texas as a gateway for black emigration.  Johnson also favored the annexation of Cuba for black slave labor.  According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Johnson wrote to Governor Thomas C. Fletcher of Missouri, “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” (Andrew Johnson by Hans Louis Trefousse, W.W. Norton & Company, 1997, pg. 236) It was this attitude that Johnson showed that prompted one constituent to warn Illinois Congressman Elihu B. Washburne in 1865, “ I have grounds to fear President Johnson may hold almost unconquerable prejudices against the African race.” (Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner, New York: Harper Collins, 1988, pg. 179)

Johnson believed that blacks were inferior to whites and not intended to be included in the Declaration of Independence, which would exclude them from the rights of citizenship.  He also believed that the Constitution left the issue of voting qualifications to the individual states, not in the hands of the federal government.  This would leave the southern states total authority in whether or not to grant voting rights to blacks.

In an annual message to Congress in December 1867, he remarked that blacks have “shown less capacity for government than any other race of people.  No independent government of any form has been successful in their hands.  On the contrary, wherever they have been left to their own devices they have shown a constant tendency to relapse into barbarism.” ((Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Part 1 by United States Department of State, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1868)

Almost immediately after taking office, Johnson began granting pardons to ex-confederates.  By doing so, he restored all confiscated and abandoned lands back to the former rebellious owners.  Even though he despised the aristocracy, he did this once he realized that the Freedmen’s Bureau would give the confiscated lands to the freed slaves.  (The Freedmen’s Bureau: A Chapter in the History of Reconstruction by Paul Skeels Peirce, New York: Haskell House Publishers, 1971, pg 130)  This is the reason that blacks never received the “forty acres and a mule” that General O.O. Howard proposed for the slaves at the end of the Civil War.   

Johnson vetoed the Freedman’s Bureau Bill, designed to allocate land for the freedmen, provide schools for their children, and increase the Bureau’s legal power by setting up military courts in the southern states to protect the freedmen’s rights. Johnson said he vetoed the bill because it “favored one class of citizens over another”, which meant that he felt it would do more for blacks than whites. 

Johnson then vetoed The Civil Rights Bill, which was designed to protect blacks against black codes and terrorist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.  Johnson vetoed the bill, declaring it unconstitutional.  Congress eventually passed both Bills over Johnson’s vetoes with modifications. Johnson’s vetoes ultimately set him on a path towards impeachment by Congress.  In the end, Johnson was acquitted in the impeachment trial, but his actions as president has solidified him as the most openly racist president in the history of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln: The Great Deceiver

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

In the history of the United States, the legacy of its presidents has been on of racist ideologies.  We know for a fact that twelve Presidents were slave owners.  What many Americans are not aware of was that while Abraham Lincoln was against the institution of slavery, he was not a true friend of the black race. In delivering his Emancipation Proclamation, he only freed slaves in the seceeding states (which meant he freed slaves in states which he no longer had power.)  By allowing blacks to believe that the war was being fought for slavery, he convinced blacks to fight for their freedom alongside northern soldiers.  If he could strengthen the Union and keep slavery Lincoln would have done so.  Lincoln even wondered to General Irvin McDowell: “If it would not be well to allow the armies to bring back those fugitive slaves which have crossed the Potomac with our troops.” (Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. DuBois. New York: Russell & Russell, 1962, pg. 82)  Although he was in favor of emancipation of black slaves, Lincoln was not compromising enough to grant full equality to blacks.  He even tried dealing with the problem of what to do with the emanicipated slaves by shipping them off to other countries.  He wanted to ship freed slaves back to Africa, sending them Liberia, but scrapped the idea because the project was too costly.  He toyed with the idea of sending them to a country in South America.  Lincoln was in favor of colonization to prevent racial amalgamation. (The Racial Attitudes of the American Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt by George Sinkler. Garden City: Anchor Books, 1972, pg. 49)

Lincoln could not fathom social and political equality for blacks.  He once wondered what would be expected after the abolition of slavery, “What next? Free them at make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would we well know that those of the great mass of white people would not.  Whether this feeling accords with justice and sound judgement, is not the sole question, if indeed, it is any part of it. A universal feeling, whether well or ill founded, cannot safely be disregarded.  We cannot make them our equals.” (Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works Volume One by John G. Nicolay and John Hay (ed.). New York: The Century Co., 1920, pg. 288)

In a debate against Stephen Douglas, Lincoln remarked:

“I am not or ever have been in favor of making voters, or juors of Negroes nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to marry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living on terms of social and political equality.” (Political Debates Between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. Cleveland: The Burrows Brothers Company, 1894, pg. 284)

These are the words and actions of “The Great Emancipator”.  Abraham Lincoln has been viewed as a savior and hero of the black race, but when his public records are reviewed it becomes quite clear that Abraham Lincoln was not a true friend of the black race.

Categories: Uncategorized

Black Seminole Indian Scouts: From Slaves to American Heroes

October 5, 2010 1 comment

From slaves to American heroes, the Scouts were true frontiersman who played a huge part in securing the American border and taming the west.   By the end of the Civil War, the U.S. was having major problems defending the Texas-Mexican border.  The border was under constant attack by invading Comanche and Apache Indians, as well as marauding bandits who sought to advance themselves through lawlessness.  In fact, 1n 1867, out of the 16, 066 U.S. soldiers stationed in the South, one-fourth of them were in Texas, mainly to address Indian warfare.

In 1870, The U.S. Army met with Black Seminole leaders, John Kibbetts and John Horse, with a request that the group help the government stop the raids on Texas by the raiders.  The Seminoles were excellent candidates because of their skills in hunting and tracking.  They were also experienced horseman and marksman, and they understood Indian culture.  They also were able to speak several of the Indian languages.  Horse and Kibbetts agreed to the government’s use of the scouts in exchange for provisions of food, travel expenses and land grants for the scouts’ families.

Many of the Black Seminoles were eager to get back to the United States after the Civil War.  Mexico was in a constant state of civil war during the time of the Mexican Revolution, and the Black Seminoles had to carry a heavier load of fighting against raiding Indians crossing the Mexican border when the larger group of Seminoles migrated back to Indian Territory.

The Seminoles left Mexico in two waves, the first, under John Kibbetts, arrived in Texas on July 4, 1870, and a year later, the second under Horse.  The groups settled in Southwest Texas, in Fort Duncan near Eagle Pass and Fort Clark in Brackettville.  It was Col. Zenas Randall Bliss who brought the Seminole Negro Indians to Fort Duncan August 16, 1870. 

At Fort Duncan, Kibbetts was commissioned a sergeant and his followers enlisted as privates.  The first Seminole Scouts in active duty at Fort Duncan were Kibbetts, Joe Dixie, Dindie Factor, Pompey Factor, Hardie Factor, Adams Fay, Bobby Kibbetts, John Ward, John Thompson, and George Washington.

At the start of their service at Fort Duncan, the Black Seminoles served as scouts for the 25th infantry.  There, they received pay at the regular army rate for privates, plus rations, arms, and ammunition for their service.

At first, the Black Seminole Indian Scouts worked under Kibbetts leadership.  Shortly afterward, the Scouts were placed under the leadership of U.S. Army Lt. John Bullis. 

The Black Seminole Indian Scouts’ primary focus was to help stop the frequent raids of Indians on the Texas-Mexico border villages.  In May of 1873, under the leadership of Col. Ranald Mackenzie, a group of sixteen Scouts along with Lt. Bullis and joined by the 4th Calvary, crossed the Rio Grande into Coahuila, Mexico.  Their mission was to conduct a raid on the menacing Kickapoo tribe. 

The Kickapoos carried out Texas cattle raids for years and had become a huge problem for the Texas ranchers.  The Kickapoo hated the Americans for taking their land and exacted revenge on them often because of it.  When Mexico offered the Kickapoo land grants in exchange for protection from Texas ranchers, they quickly accepted.

They were brave trackers and fighters who had command of the English, Spanish and multiple Indian languages, which made them extremely effective in service along the border. 

Once in Mexico, the Kickapoos frequently raided ranches as far north of the Rio Grande as San Antonio.  On May 16, 1874, Mackenzie and his group left from Fort Clark and traveled about seventy miles into Mexico to reach one of the Kickapoo villages.  The Scouts did there part by conducting surveillance on the village and notifying the Colonel that the Kickapoo warriors were gone.  The attack was swift as the troops swept in and burned the village.  Nineteen Indians were killed, forty more were taken as prisoners, and the village’s supplies were destroyed, which left the group vulnerable.

The Black Seminole Scouts served at Fort Duncan from 1870 to 1876 and at Fort Clark in Bracketville from 1872 to 1914.  From 1873 to 1881, during twenty-six expeditions they engaged in twelve battles without losing a single scout in combat, even when greatly outnumbered.  They also served and fought alongside the 8th, 9th, and 10th Calvary.

Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt of the 9th Cavalry was impressed with the Seminole Scouts service and had many of them transferred to Ft. Clark.  At Fort Clark, when they were not on patrol, the Black Seminoles lived in Seminole Camp nearby Las Moras Creek with their families.  It was at Ft. Clark that the scouts came under the leadership of Lt. John L. Bullis.  

Four of the Black Seminole Scouts won the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for their brave and heroic service.  The first of the Black Seminole Scouts to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor was Pvt. Adam Paine.  Paine received his award for his gallant fighting during the Red River War of 1874-1875, but most specifically for his duty in the Battle of Canyon Blanco in 1874.  The other three Scouts, Sgt. John Ward, Pvt. Pompey Factor, and trumpeter Issac Payne, received their awards for their heroic actions in saving their commanding officer, Lt. John Bullis, during a Comanche raid at the Eagle’s Nest Crossing of the Pecos River in 1875.  Despite being grossly outnumbered thirty-to-four, the Scouts risked their lives to save Bullis, who was unable to mount his horse.  While Factor and Payne provided cover, Ward went back and retrieved their leader before retreating to safety.    

As life along the border became less tense, the Seminole Scouts continued to provide invaluable service.  In 1885, a detachment of Seminole-Negro Scouts garrisoned a camp at Nevill’s Springs in what is now Big Bend National Park.   In 1882, Black Seminole Scouts were recruited to provide security for the Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railroad.  They also served six years at Nevill’s Springs with troops from Fort Davis, and were stationed at Camp Pena Colorado near Marathon.

In the end, despite the valiant service they provided to the U.S. government, the Seminole Scouts were victims of broken promises.  The scouts were promised land grants in exchange for their service, but never received it.  Many were forced to steal cattle to provide for themselves and their family when the U.S. military stopped providing rations for anyone who was not a regularly enlisted scout.  Even with the endorsements of several high ranking military officials, including Bullis and Mackenzie, the Scouts were left without provisions.  Many, including Factor, were denied pensions by the U.S. Army.  Without money or land to call their own, the Scouts became squatters on U.S. military reservations.  The military fed and housed them for a while, but by 1914, the military disbanded the scouts and they were ordered to leave the military grounds.   

Socially the Scouts also suffered from harsh acts of racism and discrimination.  On Christmas Day of 1874, Seminole Scout George Washington was shot and killed in an altercation at a saloon in Eagle Pass, Texas by a member of the notorious King Fisher gang.  Adam Paine, the Congressional Medal of Honor, was viciously shot in the back and killed by a Texas Sheriff while he was enjoying a dance celebration on New Years morning in 1877.  In response to the killing, some of the Seminole Scouts, including Factor, returned to the Nacimiento community in Mexico.

Many Whites around the Fort Clark/Bracketville area pressured the military to disband the Scouts so they could purchase the land that the Scouts and their families settled on.

When the Scouts unit was finally disbanded on July 10, 1914, the U.S. Government kicked the Black Seminole Scouts off of the Fort Clark base.  Many of the scouts moved with their families to Bracketville, Texas.  Many of the Seminole Scouts’ descendants still live in Bracketville, working as farmers and ranchers, proudly embracing the great history of their ancestors.  Although largely ignored or completely forgotten in American history in the past, the Black Seminole Scouts are now beginning to receive the proper attention and recognition that they deserve.  From slaves to American heroes, the Scouts were true frontiersman who played a huge part in securing the American border and taming the west.