JOHN BROWN, SEMINOLE MAROONS AND TED LANGE’S HISTORICAL PLAY
Congratulations, to Mr. Ted Lange, and his Cast and Crew of his new historical play, entitled : “The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson”. I have recently read, “A Voice from Harper’s Ferry”, written by Mr. Osborne P. Anderson and published in 1861. It is an incredible and spine tingling narrative of the Harper’s Ferry Raid, carried out by Captain John Brown and his small band of Warrior Abolitionists, Free and Escaped Blacks. Mr. Ted Lange, who we all knew and loved as “Issac”, in America’s Number one TV series “The Love Boat”, is the Writer and Director of a dramatization of Captain John Brown’s Provisional Army of a 19 member inter-racial Attack Force, Production Vehicle. Mr. Osborne Perry Anderson, was the only Black Survivor.
In truth, I have not seen the Play, however, I am compelled to write about it because, I am an African-Native American Activist. As a Seminole Maroon Descendant, whose Ancestors fought for their Freedom during the Civil War, I feel connected, they too, were part of an inter-racial military force, designated as the First Indian Home Guard. I am a Direct Descendant of both the John Brown Band and the Jim Lane Band, of Black/Mixed Race Freedmen of the Oklahoma Nation of Seminole Indians. They gave themselves, these names after the 1866 Indian Treaty which confirmed their Freedom, Citizenship and Indian Rights. My g-grandfather Band Leader Caesar Bruner was in the FIHG. The FIHG, was composed mostly of Creek,Cherokee and Seminole Indians, there, also, was a small corp of Black Interpreters and the units Officers, were mostly White. Many of their White Officers had ridden with John Brown, during the pre-civil war years in Kansas. Some of their names were James Gilpatrick Blunt, William Addison Phillips, John Bowles and Richard Josiah Hinton. A fuller list of units that they served in, would include: “The Loyal Indians” , First Indian Home Guard, and the Kansas Colored Infantry.
My Direct Ancestors, were Osa eneha Sgt. Co. “D”. Full-Blooded Creek , Caesar Bruner Seminole Maroon and Pickett Rentie African Creek, both were, Black Interpreters. Their units participated in, at least 21 battles during the War Against Slavery. This, is another story that needs to be told. I hope that the production of Mr. Ted Lange’s Play will lead to a review of their, under-reported history .
Recently, at the Nate Holden Center for Performing Arts, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Ted Lange, he is a “Charmer”, very open and friendly. I’m an Alumnus of the C. Bernard Jackson’s Inner City Cultural Center. The height of my brief, Acting Career, besides studying with the great Thespiens, Ms.Beah Richards and and Mr. Glynn Turman, was participating in the Ira Alridge Acting competition Semi-Finals and Finals at ICCC, this very illustrious showcase was Produced by Mr. Ted Lange. 16 years ago, at 52 years of age, I finally confirmed my biological father’s identity, and amazingly all this history became known to me. Since then, I have become an Activist and researcher. The Smithsonian Institution, featured my family’s story in their book and exhibit ,entitled : African-Native american Lives in the Americas. Mr. Ted Lange, when we met, informed me that , he also, is of Seminole Heritage. I smiled, and thought to myself, whew ! …if the National Museum of the American Indian had known this, I’m sure they would have featured “Issac” the Bartender, from America’s Number one TV show instead of me LOL. Of course, I’m going to see the Play!
“Through Warm Tears of Gratitude”
Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant, North American Maroon, Private Sector Partner for the National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom, Member of the L.A. Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers (9th & 10th Calvary), Co-Founder of the Bureau of Black Indian Affairs and International Co-Founder of the Maroon Women Chamber of Cooperation