JAMES BILLIE FLORIDA’S SEMINOLE CHIEF,SENDS JET FOR”FORT NEGRO” DESCENDANTS IN THE BAHAMAS
HOORAY AND HALLELUJAH !!!
Hey Y’ALL…Sorry but the Cavalry ain’t comin’ !!! Even though the horses are signed up for swimming lessons they won’t be ready to swim to the Bahamas and back, in time for the United States Forest Service Bicentennial Commemoration at the British Fort Historic Landmark at Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River in the National Apalachicola Forest on October 22nd, 2016. No, not in time to bring several Negro Fort Descendants to Florida for the event. However, the Florida Seminole known as “Chief Jim Billie”, a Vietnam Vet who not only served as a Special Forces combatant during the conflict has since then, become the Official Chief of the Florida Tribe of Seminoles and he is sending his luxurious “PRIVATE JET” to the rescue, I mean to put them in and bring’em to Florida.
It is a Rescue Mission, how else could they be able to participate. This is not a mandated event, this history was for two hundred years been known but to a few insiders. Even though , it was put in the Congressional Record by Ohio Congressman and Abolitionist Josha Giddings and written about by him in his book “The Exiles of Florida”. Most Americans don’t know about it because it is too controversial to be put in school curriculums along side the required Massacre subjects like the Alamo and Custer’s Last Stand. A high ranking official marveled at my “interest and enthusiasm” in the area and story. Every U.S. Forest Service employee and Commemoration Committee member has been so welcoming to me. After all, I’m an outsider…In 1947 I was born in the Los Angeles Negro Community , our Nile River was a street called “Central Avenue”.
Central Avenue was famous for a lot of things like Jazz and Black Businesses, due to Segregation Laws we had no place else to go. Many of us were refugees from across the USA. My biological mother’s father was an African Cherokee Pullman Porter who brought the family here in the 1930’s. My biological father’s family were Seminole Maroons they came here as refugees from Oklahoma Indian Territory. When they met again and got pregnant with me, unfortunately they were both already married to other people. The irony is that my mother and father had met as teenagers in Witchta, Kansas a very typical place of refuge for African-Indians and Maroons dating back before the Civil War. When I came along, being born on the wrong side of the blanket didn’t help. Especially, since there was Oil money involved connected to the Fixico #1 Oil Well. As a potential heir, one of four. I was squeezed out and didn’t even learn about my true genealogy until I was 52 years old. To make it clear: “BEING A SEMINOLE MAROON ACTIVIST IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO”!!!! However, it fell to me like a PURPOSE and I’m AFRAID… not to do it! My mind and heart tell me that ,”IF I WALK AWAY FROM MY PURPOSE, TO DO SOMETHING THAT I WANT TO DO…THEN MY LIFE WILL BE THE PITTS…AND LIVED FOR A LESSOR REASON THAN THE TRUE PURPOSE THAT WAS FAIRLY SHOWN TO ME. Case Closed Next Defendant. It could be worse, I could not have a PURPOSE and not know what I want to do LOL.
If somebody can convince me that I’m wrong , please be my guest. In 2012 I was one of 11 Descendants chosen by the National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom to be a VIP Descendant at their annual conference. It was held in St. Augustine, Fl. and it was dedicated to salute the Black Seminoles and the Gullah-Geechee. It had been determined that those Gullah-Geechee from Sierra Leone who were enslaved in South Carolina , at the invitation from Spain, escaped into Spanish Florida where they became Black Seminoles. There Blacks and Indians formed a powerful alliance. Read the book “Black Indians” A Hidden Heritage written by Author William L. Katz. I learned about Fort Negro by reading his book. He was the first to make a press release for my trip to Suriname as the North American Maroon Descendant in 2015, I was chosen thanks to Her Excellency Dr. Ambassador Fidelia Graand-Galon and the Maroon Women Chamber of Cooperation.
The photo at the top of this Blog shows 4 people , the Lady is none other than Dr. Rosalyn Howard an Anthropologist ,she wrote :”The Black Seminoles of the Bahamas”. The other 3 males are Descendants of the Bowlegs Family , meaning that one branch of our family tree tree was composed of Seminole Maroons who had been with Chief Bowlegs in areas like ,the Alachua prairie, Suwanee, Angola, the Negro Fort and etc.. We relate to each other as Bowlegs Cousins . My Oklahoma Bowlegs family headed by Matt Bowlegs and Lucy Jefferson were the largest Bowlegs family among the Post-Civil War Seminole Maroons in the Indian Territory that later became Oklahoma. In the photo ,I’m in the middle, Douglas (an Artist) is on my right and Wilton (a Muscian) is on my left.
Thanks to the generosity and the humanitarianism of the United States Forest Service and the Seminole Tribe of Florida we will be re-united. I’d like to thank Ms. Rhonda Kimbrough ,Heritage Program Manager, Ms. Erika Davies P.E. /Staff Officer anf Ms. Kelly Russell the Supervisor of the Forest of Florida’s National Forests. As of late , I have become acquainted with Dr. Paul Backhouse the Historic Preservation Officer of the Florida Seminole Tribe and through him and my own research I have come to appreciate the the greatness of “Chief Jim Billie”. I look forward to meeting and greeting everyone very soon .
Honor and Respect, Phil “Pompey” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant