“To prevent Africans and Native Americans from uniting, Europeans played skillfully on racial differences and ethnic rivalries. They kept the pot of animosity boiling. Whites turned Indians into slavehunters and slave owners, and Africans into “Indian-fighters”. Light-skinned Africans were pitted against dark-skinned, free against enslaved, Black Indians against “pure” Africans or “pure” Indians.
Those who have put history into books have emphasized differences between Africans and Native Americans. For example, they have stressed that Europeans encountered Indians as distinct individuals and members of proud nations, and Africans as nameless slaves. Little mention is made of the enslavement of Native Americans and nothing is said about the cultural similarities between the two dark peoples. In 1984, scholar Theda Perdue said: “By emphasizing the actual, exaggerated and imagined differences between Africans and Indians, whites successfully masked the cultural similarities of the two races as well as their mutual exploitation by whites.”—
William Loren Katz, Black Indian: A Hidden Heritage (via adailyriot)
“Johnson suggested that as non-white peoples being oppressed by Southern whites, they should empathize with black slaves. In reality, his suggestion would have greatly offended Cherokee leaders, whose claim to civilization had become about not being black. In an 1829 article in the Cherokee Phoenix, Elias Boudinot wrote that “Indians…are red, not black, and therefore cannot be treated with gross injustice like negro slaves.” Cherokee leaders used an emerging racial hierarchy to distinguish themselves from all blacks. In the end, Johnson did not directly condemn the ownership of slaves by Cherokees, but he criticized them for their willingness to support the institution through publication. He felt that they unwittingly assisted white slaveholders who wanted them removed to western lands.”
Cherokee Slaveholders and Radical Abolitionists: An Unlikely Alliance in Antebellum America” by: Natalie Joy
Black Indians? The vey words make most people shake their heads in disbelief or smile at what appears to be a joke, a play on words. No one remembers any such person in a school text, history book, or western novel. None ever appeared.
Yet they lived and roamed all over the Americas. Their story began with the first Europeans landings in the New World, reached from New England to Brazil, and continues today. The number of Afro-Americans with an Indian ancestor was once estimated at about one third of the total. In Latin America the percentage is much higher. This means that an important page in history has been missing.
Christmas Eve marks the anniversary of one of the least known battles for freedom and self-determination fought in North America. In 1837, in what had become the state of Florida less than a generation earlier, the freedom fighters were members of the Seminole Nation, an alliance of African slave runaways and Native American Seminoles.
They faced the strongest power in the Americas, the combined armed forces of the United States Army, Navy and Marines, whose goal was to crush the bi-racial alliance and return its African-American members to slavery.
The battle lines were drawn where they were, in part, because an early expedition by Ponce De Leon had claimed the Florida peninsula for the Spanish monarchy but Spain lacked the means to govern the large territory.
So, during the colonial era, escaped slaves from the Carolinas built a new home in ungoverned Florida. Since 1738, Africans had been establishing prosperous, self-governing communities, and around 1776, they welcomed Seminoles fleeing ethnic persecution by the Creek Nation.
The Africans taught their new friends the methods of rice cultivation they had learned in Sierra Leone and Senegambia. On this basis the two peoples of color built an agricultural-based society with a military force prepared to meet threats to their community, to their right of self-determination and to their liberty.
By the War of 1812, the Florida alliance was facing repeated attacks from American slave-hunter posses. There was also an occupation by an armed white militia force known as “Patriots,” who since 1811 enjoyed covert support from President James Madison. He hoped the Patriots would seize Florida for the United States.
Driving this campaign against Florida’s African and Seminole inhabitants were U.S. slaveholders who saw this successful bi-racial alliance as a clear and present danger to their southern plantation system. They had a point, since each week runaways crossed the border to find freedom in Seminole villages.
Sarann Knight Preddy provides a unique perspective on women and gaming, as the first black woman to receive a Nevada gaming license.
Born on July 27, 1920, in Eufaula, Oklahoma, she migrated to Las Vegas in 1942 with her parents and husband. They settled in the Las Vegas black community, the Westside, and because her father was a carpenter, immediately built a home. Many African Americans lived in tents and shacks due to the lack of materials caused by the war, coupled with the challenge blacks faced when attempting to purchase real property. Obtaining the financing necessary for a car was different. Preddy remembered that it was not unusual to see a big, impressive, shiny new car in front of a shack because everybody was working and had money, but blacks just could not seem to qualify for a home loan.
Preddy gravitated to Jackson Street, the black business district, to seek employment, and soon became a Keno writer in the Cotton Club. The business district was peppered with a series of nightclubs, restaurants, beauty and barber shops, clothing establishments, and small grocery stores. Preddy gained business acumen in the gaming industry, and when her husband accepted an employment opportunity in Hawthorne, Nevada, she joined him and became the owner of her first gaming venue. For $600, which she borrowed from her father, she bought Hawthorne’s one club for blacks, renamed it the Tonga Club, and operated it for seven years. The gaming license she obtained for that club gave Preddy the distinction of being the first black to own a gaming license in Nevada. She remembers the club becoming successful as a result of her barbecue sauce recipe, in addition to the games of chance.
Preddy returned to Las Vegas after the Moulin Rouge Hotel Casino, the first integrated resort property in Las Vegas, opened and closed in 1955. She operated the Playhouse Lounge for a year before going to work at Jerry’s Nugget as an experiment. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had been told that Jerry’s Nugget would hire a black dealer if the association could send in a qualified person. Preddy accepted the challenge, intending to work at the North Las Vegas casino for six months. She stayed there for seven years. She remembers a congenial environment where profit-sharing was one of the benefits. [READ MORE]
“Early encounters between Africans and Seminoles can be traced to seventeenth-century Florida, with the Spanish serving as a proxy connecting the two cultures. Enslaved Africans in the British colony of South Carolina found refuge and greater freedom under Spanish rule in Florida. The Seminoles, who had broken from the Creek Confederacy and settled in Florida, also found more friendly allies in the Spanish. Africans soon began to live in Seminole communities and establish alliances with Seminole towns. Some Seminoles took Africans as slaves, although their practice differed dramatically from that of invading colonizers.”—Smithsonian: National Museum of the American Indian, indiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americans, p. 46. (via daydreamingbookworm)