Monday, June 30, 2014

The Maroons of Prospect Bluff and Their Quest for Freedom in the Atlantic


Nathaniel Millet (Associate Professor of History, Saint Louis University) is a contributing author to Africa in Florida, see Chapter 2: An Overview of Florida's Black Past. His book--The Maroons of Prospect Bluff and Their Quest for Freedom in the Atlantic World-- was recently published and has already won two awards (Florida Book Award for Florida Nonfiction, Silver - 2013 and Rembert Patrick Book Award - 2014).  

Synopsis from the UPF website:

During the War of 1812, Edward Nicolls of the Royal Marines armed ex-slaves, Red Sticks, and Seminoles to fight alongside the British from a fort erected at Prospect Bluff in the Florida panhandle. This so-called Negro Fort became the largest maroon community ever to emerge in North America. Fervently opposed to slavery, Nicolls galvanized the Prospect Bluff allies with his radical anti-slavery ideology and the promise of freedom, asserting their rights and privileges equal to those of any British subject.

At war’s end, Nicolls remained at Prospect Bluff, petitioning American officials to respect the territorial sovereignty of his Indian allies. When diplomacy failed, Nicolls left the fort to his black army of radicalized British subjects and encouraged it to defend the territory against all threats. What developed was a well-organized community that regarded itself as an independent British polity.

Nathaniel Millett examines how the Prospect Bluff maroons constructed their freedom, shedding light on the extent and limits of their physical and intellectual fight to claim their rights. He compares their settlement extensively with maroon communities across the Americas, emphasizing the rare opportunity offered by Prospect Bluff to examine black consciousness during the era of slavery.

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