Monday, March 19, 2007

Black Seminoles

For a couple of years on the H-Net Slavery listserv I've been following the work of J.B. Bird, an amateur historian, as he's built his web site on the Black Seminole rebellion in 1830s Florida, the largest slave revolt in U.S. history. I'm glad to see it getting the credit it deserves.

What is perhaps most amazing about this story is how it has been overlooked so consistently, not just by filmmakers and popular audiences but by almost every historian of slavery. Now a nonprofessional historian--J.B. Bird, an administrator at the University of Texas--has written and produced an engrossing multimedia Web documentary, Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles, the First Black Rebels to Beat American Slavery. (To see it for yourself, go to In the process, Bird has illustrated not just an important part of the American past but also one of the ways cyberspace is changing how history is studied and taught.

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