M I S S I O N
The Mission of the Florida Black Historical Research Project Inc. is to research, collect, and disseminate knowledge of significant contributions Blacks have made in the State of Florida.
Local Coverage of the Seminole Maroon Reunion
From the South Florida Times, January 12, 2023
“BLACK BORDER WARRIORS: THE SEMINOLE NEGRO INDIAN SCOUTS”: The Best Documentary winner at the 2018 Black International Cinema Berlin will be shown Friday, Jan. 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Palm Beach State College, Palm Beach Gardens Campus, 3160 PGA Blvd, Meldon Hall, Room BB111. The awardwinning ﬁlm tells the epic story of Seminole Maroons exiled from their settlements in Florida. The screening is part of activities commemorating the 185-Year Anniversary of the1838 Second Seminole War at Loxahatchee River Battleﬁeld on Indiantown Rd. in Jupiter, Jan. 11-15, and includes a question/answer session with Minnesota ﬁlmmaker Joseph Hill.
The landmark "Reunion" will bring together Seminole Maroon ("Black Seminole") descendants and friends from around the Maroon Diaspora – Oklahoma, Mexico, Texas, the Bahamas, Florida itself, and beyond – on their Ancestral homeland, at the site of the two decisive 1838 Battles of the Loxahatchee River during the "Second Seminole War." Indigenous architect Chris Cornelius, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of New Mexico, and founding principal of studio:indigenous, will provide the ﬁnal keynote address on Sunday, Jan. 15, the weekend of MLK holiday.
Included in the ﬁve-day commemorative event are a tour of historic sites in and around Palm Beach County that are related to the pivotal events of the Second Seminole War that culminated at Loxahatchee River Battleﬁeld Park; a twoday symposium and keynote presentations on The Negro Fort, Angola and the Bahamas, The Trail of Tears and the Oklahoma Seminole Bands, Texas, Mexico and the Seminole Indian Scouts will be hosted by Palm Beach State College; and a two-day slate of programs commemorating the historic military site. Visit eventbrite.com or fbhrpinc.org.
Florida Black Historical Research Project, Inc. Receives National Grant Funding
Florida Black Historical Research Project, Inc. (FBHRP) has received $50,000 from Telling the Full History Preservation Fund—a grant program from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, made possible through the National Endowment for the Humanities under the American Rescue Plan.
The funding enables the planning and presentation of a five-day “185-Year Seminole Maroon Family Reunion,” on January 11-15, 2023, a physical and virtual gathering in Jupiter Florida (in present-day Palm Beach County), site of the two pivotal 1838 Battles of the Loxahatchee River during the Second Seminole War, which significantly altered the course of full American history.
The event also marks the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking “160-Year Family Reunion” held in 1998, which brought Oklahoma Seminole Maroon (“Black Seminole” or “Estelusti”) descendants (of Trail of Tears survivors) to their Ancestral homeland of Florida for the first time, garnering remarkably broad local interest and support, and establishing permanent networks and exchanges which continue today, with January’s event expanding to include Maroon descendant communities in Mexico, Texas, and the Bahamas as well as Oklahoma and Florida itself.
FBHRP is one of 80 organizations that received $25,000 or $50,000 grants to interpret and preserve historic places of importance that embody the history of underrepresented communities in our nation.
Telling the Full History grants support the core activities of humanities-based organizations as these organizations recover from the pandemic, using historic places as catalysts for a more just and equitable society. To learn more about this program, visit Forum.SavingPlaces.org/tellingthefullhistoryfund.
Did You Know?
• Africans were in the Americas centuries before Columbus and the “slave trade,” as shown by the research of scholars like Ivan van Sertima and Leo Weiner. Some evidence suggests an early African presence in Florida.
• Africans accompanied the first Spanish explorers and settlers of Florida, nearly a full century before the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia.
• While the Southern colonies, and later Southern states of the U.S., were dominated by plantation slavery, Florida was Spanish territory and “Freedom Land” for Africans escaping enslavement and Native peoples escaping settler encroachment on their traditional lands.
• Pirates were known for exercising “complete integration and complete democracy.” Among the most legendary of pirates was Black Caesar, who operated in South Florida waters.
• The first invasion of a foreign country by the U.S. began with the incursions into Florida which became known as the Seminole wars.
• Both the words “Seminoles” and “Maroons” are derived from the Spanish word “cimarrones,” which was used for livestock which escaped into the wild. “Cimarrones” became “Siminoli” in the Creek Indian language, and then “Seminole” in English.
• “The Seminoles were a people, not a tribe,” consisting of numerous Native groups and Africans. Black Seminoles were especially valuable to the alliance as interpreters, since they knew both European and Native languages.
• The Seminole Wars were the costliest in U.S. history, in both money and bloodshed, until the Vietnam War.
• The main goal of the Seminole Wars was not only to “fight Indians” and to displace them west of the Mississippi River on the Trail of Tears, but equally importantly to "recapture the 'property' " of Southern slave owners and prevent further escapes of enslaved people.
• One of the most important sites of the Second Seminole War was the 1838 Loxahatchee River Battlefield in northern Palm Beach County, Florida, where Black and Native Seminoles, outnumbered and outgunned, fought bravely for their freedom, until they were captured by U.S. forces, dishonorably, under a flag of truce, and marched on the Trail of Tears to Tampa, shipped to Louisiana and east Texas, and marched to Oklahoma.
Dear Lovers of History and Culture:
This comes to request your support of Florida Black Historical Research Project, Inc.'s [ FBHRP ] new initiative, "Speaking Memory, Archives, and Artifacts."
This project was selected for promotion in a fundraising effort to support Black Non-profit organizations, Give 8/28, organized by Mighty Cause.
Financial Contributions--small, very small, tiny, really miniscule! none and large, very large, gigantic!--are appreciated .
Important also is your sharing this message with someone who you feel would support this effort.
We appreciate your support, your presence at our events, your financial contributions and your publicity. Every gesture is important. All support is welcome and valued.
On behalf of the Board of FBHRP, I thank you.
Florida Black Historical Research Project, Inc
REGISTRATION No. CH28088
A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the division of consumer services by calling toll-free 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or visit online at www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.
Website Photo Header Credit: Original photography and montage by Stephen Marc, depicting an Annual Spiritual Remembrance of the Loxahatchee Battlefield in Jupiter, Florida, a turning point in the "Seminole Wars." Prominently shown are the late Isa Hamm Bryant, founder of the FBHRP (in Seminole shirt), and Carib Tribal Queen Mrs. Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez, who has regularly performed the Opening Blessing and Prayer on these occasions.