Today In Black History: Battle of Okeechobee

On this date in 1837 Seminole Indian forces defeated American troops at The Battle of Okeechobee. The natives were lead by John Horse who a Black Chief by all accounts of the battle. Horse shared command with Alligator Sam Jones and Wild Cat. Because the government could not tell if these darker natives were “Indians” or run away slaves, In 1849, the U.S. attorney general's office ruled that Black Seminoles were slaves by law. The U.S. government actively promoted slavery among relocated Native American tribes.

Even tribes who had never practiced slavery before were encouraged to do so. It was in the same year that John Horse founded the city of Wewoka in Mexico. It served as a refuge for runaway slaves.