Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 2009, pp. 151-152


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


One is dumbstruck, upon completing Kevin Mulroy's The Seminole Freedmen: A History that it took more than thirty years after the publication of Daniel Littlefield's Africans and Seminoles: From Removal to Emancipation to bring new light to this fascinating saga of race in the Great Plains region. Mulroy's book is sure to become the definitive account of the Seminole Freedmen experience, and his interpretation challenges long- held myths concerning black,. Indian relations in the American West.

Mulroy portrays a society in which Seminole Freedmen enjoyed far greater privileges than blacks in other regions of the United States. They were able to retain the fruits of their labor, practice their religion without interference, participate in politics, educate their children, and live their lives without fear of violence and overt racial discrimination. Yet Mulroy notes that a large number of the freedoms that Seminole Freedmen enjoyed resulted from their physical isolation from Seminole Indian society. Most Seminole Freedmen lived among their own people and interacted with Seminoles and other Indians infrequently. Mulroy notes that while Seminole Indians were content to allow the freedmen civil rights denied them elsewhere in the lJnited States, they refused to admit them into their bands and clans. Despite the seeming racial toleration in the Seminole Nation, it was no racial utopia.