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Rebellion 1776 - 1877     
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Slave pen, circa 1865
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Slave pen, Alexandria, Virginia, photographed between 1861 and 1865. Slaves were held here prior to being sold. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-B8171-2297.
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Struggling for survival on three frontiers -- the Southeast (1812-1838), the West (1838-1850), and the Southwest (1850-1880s) -- the Black Seminoles were like a shadow soul of the expanding American empire. Politically and historically, the country did not want to recognize its shadow. As a group, the rebels raised uncomfortable ideas -- the threat of slave revolt, the nightmare of Indians and blacks uniting, the contradiction of American freedom, founded on the backs of African slaves. And so the national consciousness suppressed nearly all memory of the Black Seminoles, through ideological trends, censorship, and even legal measures. Briefly prominent during the rise of the abolitionist movement (1836-1863), the group quickly faded from mainstream awareness. By the 1900s they were a mere footnote to history.

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Sources: This argument comes from the overall historiography of the Black Seminoles. For specifics on censorship during the era, see White 518-19, Remini 3: 259-61, Genovese 114-15. On legal measures to suppress debate over slavery, see Miller Arguing, Buck, and Twyman 149-54.
Prologue: Outline  l  Images
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 Trail Narrative
 - Prologue
spacer Story Panel 6 of 8
 + Background
 + Early Years: 1832-1838
 + War: 1832-1838
 + Exile: 1838-1850
 + Freedom: 1850-1882
 + Legacy & Conclusion