WAS “FORT NEGRO” AN ILLEGAL U.S.POLICE ACTION ,DONE WHEN “BLACK LIVES” DIDN’T MATTER ?
Photo above: U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Seminole Maroon Descendant & Activist, Phil Wilkes Fixico, holding a copy of “Black Indians” A Hidden Heritage, by Author William L. Katz,
it gives a good account what happened at Fort Negro.
The Battle and Massacre of Fort Negro occurred on July 27th 1816. The Bicentennial of this tragic event is only 10 days away. there has been much progress made since then and we now have an African-American President Barack Obama. Ironically, President Obama ,just this year signed a bill that bands the use of the words “Negro” and “Oriental”. Many in the country applaud his actions and say that “it’s about time”. I agree with them with one caveat and that is, when educators at secondary school level across the country teach their students about the: “Alamo” and “Custer’s Last Stand” that they include, the “Battle and Massacre of Fort Negro”.
The Korean War began in June of 1950, when President Harry Truman order the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy to take action against North Korea. It has been called a “Police Action” because he never received Congressional authorization. He conducted hostilities by invoking United Nation Resolutions. The proof that it was indeed a “Police Action” was that it ended in 1953 with only a “Cease Fire” agreement. The Vietnam War began with the Tonkin Gulf Incident, on August 2nd 1964 a naval engagement occurred of the coast of North Vietnam between the U.S.Maddox a Destroyer and a squadron of North Vietnam torpedo boats. The then President Lyndon Johnson on August 7th 1964 received from congress the Tonkin Gulf Resolution that allowed he to escalate U.S. Military involvement with receiving a Declaration of War.
The Battle and Massacre of Fort Negro required that U.S. Military forces albeit dispatched by President Madison would illegally violate the territorial sovereignty of Spanish Florida. Not only was it a covert mission known only to U.S. Military forces involved it was an unauthorized U.S. tax paper sponsored Slave-Hunting expedition based on the executive order that was given, which was ; “Destroy Negro Fort and return the blacks to their rightful owners”. This order was carried out with the exception that of the approximately 330 occupants and defenders of Fort Negro 270 of them were destroy when their ammunition supply was ignited by a heated cannon ball, fired into the fort by a U.S. Gunboat. 200 of the occupants killed were Black and Black Indian/Maroon women and children. The other 70 male defenders consisted of Blacks, Seminole and Choctaw Indians.
Unfortunately, at that point in U.S. History as evidenced by the era of the Trans-Atlantic-Slave Trade,Indian Removal and Manifest Destiny, there were many lives that did not matter.Yes we have made undeniable progress, but we must never fail to remember our past ,lest we repeat it (paraphrased quote from George Santayana).
The incidents that I have mentioned are examples of International
Police Actions. Today’s headlines and news hours are full of Police actions that are powerful indictments that even though we have come along way in our country, we still have a considerable way to go. My thoughts on how do we turn back this epidemic of lethal exchanges between the Police and the Community are these:
(1)There are enough Good People in the Community and on the Police force to turn things around. (2)I was raised in Watts in the Nickerson Garden Projects, for the most part the renters were divided into two classes (A) the Poor and (B) the Predators. when a man was stabbed and bled on our porch ,we were taught to step over the blood and when a 15 year old girl was raped on the street in early evening and cried out for help we were taught to pull down the shades. When Predators own a neighborhood, it generates the need for Police presence. Therefore to reduce the need for constant Police presence we as a community must organize and help the Good Police officers to help us. During the 1960’s I was a Soldier in The War on Poverty, I worked as a NEIGHBORHOOD YOUTH CORP REPRESENTATIVE, in the Watts Rebellion Target Area. The program worked and had great results. What we need now is a NEIGHBORHOOD SENIORS CORP. Being paid as Block Captains whose job it is to be Liaison specialist between the Community and the Police. It would cause us to face the face the fact that many of the perpetrators are known to us and in some cases even our own family members.We also must not forget that many of our family and friends are also Police Officers. I was a Youthful Offender and Gang Member as such i was a plague on my family, my School and my community. I hit and spent a year in four different Juvenile Institutions before I was 15 years olds . However, my life was saved by Professional Counselors of all races who can to my life like it was a “House on fire”. We must have hope and realize that are enough Good People in both the Community and the Police Force to solve these conditions. Below are links to articles about “Fort Negro”.
Honor and Respect, Phil Wilkes Fixico ,Seminole Maroon Descendant