Parallels between the contrabands and the Black Seminoles
continue even in the realm of historiography.
Just as nineteenth-century historians overlooked the Black Seminoles'
successful fight for freedom in Florida, so too did they ignore the effectiveness of
black freedom fighters in the Civil War. In the years after
the Civil War, the emancipation of the southern slaves was depicted
as a supreme act of white benevolence.
This version of events robbed African Americans of a
rightful perception of agency in their own history. And it
resulted in text books that to this day do not celebrate
those very real
African American figures—the Black Seminoles and the
contrabands—who followed in the footsteps of the Founding
Fathers by successfully taking up arms against tyranny. While historians marginalized both
groups, their actions were in fact solidly within the
mainstream of U.S. history, helping realize the full potential of
the American Revolution.
Part 4, Freedom: l