My National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom Partnership
To Whom it May Concern,
I am Phil Wilkes Fixico, AKA , Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico. I am the Founder of, The Semiroon Historical Society. In recognition of my past Activism and contributions to the NUGRR/NTF’s subject matter, I have been commended by the National Parks Service and my organization has been accepted as a Private-Sector Partner for the NUGRR/NTF Program under the Dept. of the Interior.
In the National Parks Sevices’ letter, of my organization’s confirmation, it read: “Please know that we are aware of your commitment to be stewards, of all that the NUGRR/NTF Act embraces and encourage you to stay firm to that commitment. To ensure accurate interpretation of the Underground Railroad to the to public”. I am proud to serve my country in this capacity and I will strive to maintain the standards and expectations of the NUGRR/NTF Program.
The National Underground Railroad/Network To Freedom, presented it’s 6th Annual Conference in St. Augustine, Fl., June 20th-24th, 2012. The focus of this conference, was about the Black Seminoles’ road to freedom . This story includes the Gullah-Geechee Connection. Black Seminoles are often described by scholars as Gullah-Geechee Pioneers. They were, those Gullah-Geechee people, enslaved in Georgia and the Carolinas who escaped, South to the Asylum offered by Spanish Florida. In Florida, they became a part of the Seminole People’s Ethnogenosis (birth of a new people).
Inter-marriage was not essential to the process. Both groups came together as societies under stress and as time past, they merged into a group recognized as the “Seminole People”. This was accomplished through Culture, including Adoption and Adaptation. In other words, “Both groups chose, the same Land, the same Language, the same People and ate out of the same Pot”. A different road than the one denied Black Indians , according to, Dr. Henry Louis Gates.
The NUGRR/NTF’s management staff, took a goodly sum of time to choose, locate and confirm Black Seminoles and Gullah-Geechee people in the Diaspora for the conference . I was one of 11 ,chosen, to participate as a VIP Descendants. We were selected from Florida, the Carolinas. Georgia, Texas, Mexico, The Bahamas, Oklahoma and California. I came from California, (not a traditional community, but a refugee designation). After, I arrived in St. Augustine, Fl. , where the conference was held, I was amazed to observe the degree to which, Diane Miller, the National Program Manager and her staff had gone to . I asked, Mr. Guy Washington the (then) Pacific West Manager of the NUGRR/NTF, this question: “Guy, is this a form of “Reparations”? Mr. Washington, answered, “No, the US Gov’t does not use the word ,”Reparation”, to explain actions like these. “Reparations” , he said, “is a legal term like, “Affirmative Actions”. “The word that the gov’t, uses to explain actions like this, is “Reconciliation”. Which means that the gov’t recognizes that the gov’t ,caused the problem and that the gov’t must fix it”. Hearing, his words , blew me away, to say the least. I next ,asked, “Why choose the Black Seminoles”? Mr. Washington, said : “Because the Black Seminoles have a Proud History and in many ways, what they did (self-emancipation) was equal to the Founding Fathers of this country” As a result of this powerful admission and the historic conference put on by Program Manager Diane Miller and her staff, I authored the unilateral, “Treaty of St. Augustine” pledging our (the willing) allegiance to the United States as an appropriate demonstration of : “Cultural Reciprocity.
“Through Warm Tears of Gratitude”, Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant, Dept. of Interior, National Parks Service,NUGRR/NTF Private-Sector Partner (Semiroon Historical Society).