John Horse and the Black Seminoles — Largest Slave Revolt in American History?

JohnHorse.Com is an extensive, but ultimately frustrating, look at the role that rebellious plantation slaves played in the Second Seminole War. Bird claims that by April 1836, almost 400 slaves had “defected to the Seminoles.”

The site’s author, J.B. Bird, argues that professional historians have largely ignored the large number of slaves who left their plantation to join the Seminoles in fighting against white plantation owners due to a bias toward diminishing acts of resistance by slaves. He doesn’t, however, provide any sort of critical look at traditional historian’s view of the role of black slaves in the Second Seminole War, so we’re left taking his word for it.

Frankly, although the site has some interesting information, the thing it is being noticed and praised for widely is the same thing that I found extraordinarily annoying — the site breaks up this extensive information about John Horse, the Seminoles, and plantation slaves into 400 small chunks of information Power Point style. That pretty much kills the narrative flow and makes it difficult to follow Bird’s argument as a whole.

Its a shame he doesn’t have the full text of his chunked-up thesis on the Seminoles available somewhere on his site for those who want more than the slideshow version of his research.

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