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Tales of Angola Essay

Jackson, David H., and Canter Brown. “Tale of Angola: Free Blacks, Red Stick Creeks, and International Intrigue in Spanish Southwest Florida, 1812-1821.” Go Sound the Trumpet!: Selections in Florida’s African American History. Tampa, FL: University of Tampa for the Florida A & M University Dept. of History, Political Science/Public Administration, Geography, and African American Studies, 2005. 5-18. Print.

In David H. Jackson and Canter Brown’s book, Go Sound the Trumpet: Tale of Angola, these men talk about the marooning black men and women and their interaction with the Creek Indians and European powers. This particular chapter sheds light on the role of the Red Stick Creek Indians in helping to sustain the freedom of the marooning blacks in Florida. Their coalition along with aid from Spanish and English powers allowed them to ward of the attacks of the United States on their freed black establishments. In a sense this group of warriors were successful. Throughout the paper we will try to point of the origin, purpose, value and limitations of this particular chapter in order to rate the credibility of the information.

First, This chapter was written around the theme of free blacks and Indians in the early 19th century. Majority of the accounts that are taken and documented within this exert were extracted from the memories as well as recordings of past marooners or ancestors of those who were either allies of the free blacks and/or the Red Stick Creeks. Other information is taken from authors such as Joshua Giddings who wrote the classic, The Exiles of Florida and Kenneth W. Porter’s essays, which later compiled into a book, The Black Seminoles: Freedom-Seeking People. Still our knowledge is very lacking regarding the subject of free blacks but these authors gave much needed insight into this vague area. This document is considered a secondary document since it is not an actual diary of the accounts of maroons or Red Stick Creeks.

Many books are written as narrative for the entertainment but this particular book or directly this chapter was meant for distributing education. What the purpose of this particular chapter is is to illuminate the lives of marooning African Americans which is actually harder than it sounds. Due to the circumstance in which many of these blacks were freed, much information about their lives was not and in many cases could not be released. For instance, “the government granted freedom to runaway slaves from Carolina, regardless of race, so long as the runaways agreed to convert to Roman Catholicism”(6). Other African Americans were armed “through the authorization of the colony’s first free black and mulatto militia companies” (6). This meant that many United Statesmen, in the south especially, were angry and bitter towards the new undisputed emancipation of their slaves.

The value of such an article is the fact that such information is not necessarily publicly preached. Many didn’t know about the marooning blacks in the south especially because the usual notion is that blacks ran north for freedom instead of this new revelation of retreat towards the south. This particular chapter also takes quotes and accounts from those who experienced the eradication of the maroon safe havens and forts such as the Negro Fort, Fort Mose, and most importantly Angola.

The limitations of this chapter are that it was not written in the time of the actual events. Even though the authors include accounts from those who were witnesses to this period, this is still not as valuable as a primary source like a diary or a testimonial. In the end, even though this particular exert is a secondary source, it still contains enough evidence like quotes from witnesses and documented oral accounts to deem this information beneficial and most importantly credible.


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