While military authorities appreciated the Black Seminoles,
other white residents of Kinney County expressed less
gratitude for their protection. In April 1876, 35 citizens
complained to the secretary of war that unenlisted blacks
living around Fort Clark were stealing property and
encroaching upon the lands of citizens. Black Seminoles may
have been stealing livestock to stave off starvation.
Officers close to the maroons, like Bullis, had warned that
this might result if the government continued to deny
rations and land. It did not help that the maroons were
squatters on private lands that the government only leased.
Just as importantly, the scouts had to contend with the
legacies of slavery and the Civil War. They were armed,
black militants living alongside former sons and daughters
of the Confederacy in a state where slavery had only been
outlawed for 11 years.
Sources: Mulroy 148-149, Porter Black 196.
Part 4, Freedom: l