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Zachary Taylor and John Horse
On this date in 1837, during the Second Seminole War, a force of Seminole Indians defeated U.S. troops in the Battle of Okeechobee in Florida.
Chief John Horse (a Black man) shared command with Alligator Sam Jones and Wild Cat, fighting General Zachary Taylor. Blacks were “fearless” fighters in numerous battles with U.S. troops. Blacks also served as scouts, interpreters, and even spies with the American troops. 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. The same year, John Horse founded the city of Wewoka in Oklahoma. It served as a refuge for runaway slaves.
Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and
African American Experience
Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.