FORT NEGRO, NORTH AMERICA’S LARGEST ACT OF SLAVE RESISTANCE ?
Hooray and Hallelujah ! Associate Professor Nathaniel Millett of St. Louis University has written a book ,entitled : The Maroons of Prospect Bluff and their Quest for Freedom in the Atlantic World. It was published in 2013 by University Press of Florida. I am a Seminole Maroon Descendant and North American Maroon Activist and I was featured in the Smithsonian Institution’s 2009 landmark book and exhibit ,entitled: “indiVisible”: African Native American Lives in the Americas. My Smithsonian researcher was Dr. Kevin Mulroy, who is “The Worlds Leading Authority on Seminole Maroons”. Dr. Mulroy is currently the Dean of the Claremont College’s Libraries Sciences System. Dr. Mulroy is also a British Scholar , I have not yet, read Dr. Millett’s book ,therefore I am commenting on his lecture given at Gresham College, in London ,England it details his book. Dr. Millett’s lecture is entitled: “North America’s Largest Act of Slave Resistance ?
Again, I am not a Historian or a Scholar. “I ain’t tryin’ to be dat’. ” I am however, an Informed Descendant of the “Fort Negro Era” participants. Before, I praise Professor Millett for all the good that I think he has done, I should give the documented credentials that not only authorize my speaking on this subject , they compel me to do so. My Maroon g-grandfather was Caesar Bruner, Of the 14 Bands of the Oklahoma Seminole Nation (12 By-Blood and 2 Maroon), I am a direct descendant of 3 ,they are the By-Blood Mikasuki, Caesar Bruner and Doser Barkus Maroon Bands. The Caesar Bruner Band was named so, in honor of my g-grandfather, It is still known, as the Caesar Bruner Band today, he helped translate the 1865 Fort Smith Truce that ended US Civil War hostilities in Indian Territory and that formed the basis for the 1866 Indian Territory Treaty that gave Black Indians, Indigenous Rights and Benfits . The Bruners were originally in Alabama with the Creeks, after the Creek Civil War of 1813/14, they were forced to come South into Florida with their Red Stick Allies this was definitely part of the “Fort Negro Era”. “Papa” Caesar who would father 19 children ( as his legend goes) in the Oklahoma Nation of Seminoles. 8 of “Papa” Caesar’s children were by “Mama” Nancy who was the granddaughter of the Florida Seminole Maroons greatest Leader, Prophet Abraham who was definitely at Fort Negro prior to it’s destruction. Abraham translated and negotiated the “1837 Articles of Capitulation” that won the Florida Seminole Maroons their liberty. They had with their By Blood Allies fought the United States Army, Navy and Marine Corp for their right to freedom and a seat on the boat to Indian Territory during the 2nd Seminole War. My g-grandmother was Judy Bowlegs, she was a member of the biggest Maroon Family in Indian Territory (Post Civil War). Her daughter Mariah Renty/Rentie would marry Pompey Bruner Fixico. His mother was Dinah Fixico A full-Blood Mikasuki Seminole Dawes Rolls #900. Mr. Pare Bowlegs formerly the Historical Preservation Officer for the Oklahoma Nation of Seminole ,after discovering my genealogy , I spoke with Mr. Bowlegs and he was very generous in the gifts that he gave to me. One gift was information that showed that there was a connection between Fort Negro and my g-grandmother’s Wind Clan group at Fowltown/Totolose Tvlofv who had an alliance with the Blacks in the Spanish Fort at Pensacola. The Mekkosuke were the first to move to Suwanee after the end of the 1st Seminole War.
I have provided readers with a link to Dr. Nathaniel Millett’s lecture , beyond being a Gentleman and a Fine Scholar, he appears to be a wonderful and very likable human being. As a Historian and a Scholar he, unlike many others has at least addressed the Maroons at Prospect Bluff . He committed to it and to his credit taken it on by writing a book. My biggest difference of opinion with him is, his comment that , He avoids using the term Fort Negro, because to the occupants it didn’t mean anything to them. That is just not true the term “Fort Negro” was the buzz-word for the Dominant Culture, who was saying and thinking ” we don’t want a Haitian Style revolution to affect the country’s economical foundation” , which was based in great part on Cotton and Slavery. The Prospect Bluff Maroons were destroyed not because they were “Prospect Bluff People” but because they were defending or taking refuge in “FORT NEGRO”.
“Through Warm Tears Of Gratitude”
Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant, North American Maroon P.S. I would like to thank Dr. Kevin Mulroy for working to get me into The Smithsonian Institution’s “indiVisble” and Mr. Wm . L. Katz Author of “Black Indians” for his support of my upcoming Cultural Mission as the Maroon Women Chamber of Cooperation’s choice to represent the USA as this year’s North American Maroon. Photos: The photo on the left is my g-grandfather Seminole Maroon Leader Caesar Bruner, the Photo on the right is Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, on the cover of the American Journal of Ethnohistory Again I thank Mr. Pare Bowlegs of the Oklahoma Seminole Nation for sharing the information about my g-grandmother’s Clan.