Saturday, September 22, 2012

Meeting Abraham

Orr's engraving of Abraham, a well-known Black Seminole Leader. 

The Black Seminoles is a term used by modern historians for the descendants of free blacks and some runaway slaves who escaped from coastal South Carolina and Georgia rice plantations into the Spanish Florida wilderness beginning as early as the late 17th century. By the early 19th century, they had often formed communities near the Seminole Indians.

Together, the two groups formed a multi-ethnic and bi-racial alliance. Today, Black Seminole descendants still live in Florida, rural communities in Oklahoma and Texas, and in the Bahamas and Northern Mexico.

Abraham was a Black Seminole Leader in the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). The Indians called him "Souanaffe Tustenukke," a title indicating membership in the highest of the three ranks of war leaders.

Abraham served as an interpreter for Micanopy (chief of the Seminole Nation during the Second Seminole War) in 1826 when a delegation of Seminole Chiefs visited Washington D.C.


I met Abraham today. He came to the little museum where The Colonel and I volunteer. He came with his wife and grandson in tow.

Abraham was played by Ralph Smith, a Black Seminole and his real-life wife, Marcela, played his Seminole wife. Smith is part Maskoki Creek Indian (known as Seminoles). He was born in Illinois and his wife is a native of Mexico City. They brought some beautiful Seminole clothing and put it on display. I loved the colors and patterns!

Mr. and Mrs. Smith were very informative and entertaining. The Smith's grandson was very well behaved for a 9-month-old. He napped during part of the presentation. 

When he was awake he sat quietly on his grandma's lap.

I liked the authentic clothing the Smith's wore.

I love when history comes alive like it did when I met Abraham, his wife and grandson.

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