U.S. Attorney General John Y. Mason
Daguerreotype by Brady, 1844-1860, Library of Congress.
Though they had the support of the army, the Black Seminoles could not contend with the sectional
forces that were threatening the union in the late 1840s. Southern
politicians were simply not going to tolerate the existence of an
armed black community on the western frontier. Events climaxed in 1848 when a legal decision by the
U.S. Attorney General placed hundreds of Black Seminoles at risk of
enslavement for the first time in their lives.