Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
				Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.




The Seminoles, or Seminole Negroes need some historical explanation for local visitors, as does their reverence for their distinguished ancestors and the cemetery where they now rest. Unfortunately, much of the history has been ignored or lost with time, but the facts and stories which remain attest to probably the most unusual dedication to freedom by a small group of people under the most difficult circumstances. The Seminole Negroes originally were East Coast slaves who could not stand the oppression and escaped into Florida, where they found equal treatment and a haven under such Seminole leaders as Osceola.


Later, under circumstances hardly complimentary to various Army officials, the Seminole Negroes accompanied their Indian benefactors to Oklahoma Territory following the Cherokee on the "trail of tears". Reservation life again was oppressive, and the quest for freedom led both Seminole and Negroes, now considered "Indians" by the American Government according to records, to Mexico.


After years of warfare, the Seminole Negroes were excellent horseman and marksman, familiar with Indian ways and languages, and noted for their courage. The Mexican Government used them extensively to control the renegade Indians of Northern Mexico.

In the 1870's the United States was losing the war against these same lawless elements until U.S. Army Colonel Ranald MacKenzie discovered the value of the Seminole Negro Scouts, never numbering more then 100 at any one time in the Army. By now America had recognized the right of all men to be free, after a Civil War.



An unprecedented record of gallantry was made by this small band. Generals John Bullis and famous "Phil" Sheridan credited these scouts with civilizing West Texas. It was a small group of men, and these Generals and others carefully noted the difference and great value of these scouts -- not to be confused with the "Buffalo" soldiers. Four of them were to be among the first to win the nation's highest honor for heroic action, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Yet neither our national nor Texas state history books have acknowledged the unusual contribution of these men to our national heritage. -- Cloyde I. Brown



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Category: Western Frontier | Subcategory: Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts | Tags: Cherokee , Seminoles , Florida , Oklahoma , Texas , 1870
Related Topics / Keywords / Phrases: 1870, Bullis, Cherokee (Indians), Civil War, Florida, Haven, Indian, Indians, John Bullis, MacKenzie, Medal of Honor, Mexican, Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ranald, Ranald MacKenzie, Scouts, Seminole, Seminole (Indians), Seminoles, Territory, Texas, West Texas,