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"Red Over Black"

I found this interesting site and thought I would share it with the board. This is an excerpt from R. Halliburton's book "Red Over Black"

Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians

Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies, Number 27


The Origins of Black Slavery in the Cherokee Country

Despite the voluminous literature treating black slavery in America, significant omissions remain. Areas that have not been adequately investigated include the ownership of slaves by several tribes of American Indians, including the Cherokees. No comprehensive and documented treatment of black slavery in the Cherokee Nation has ever appeared in print, and primary source materials are now scarce, scanty, and scattered. Available information mostly concerns plantation owners who were large slaveholders. These were the men of influence who left wills, diaries, letters, and other papers and whose names appeared in newspapers, in missionaries, and Indian Agents' correspondence, and in the laws of the Cherokee Nation.

Although there are numerous works treating the tribe, a definitive history of the Cherokees is yet to be written. Existing volumes barely mention or entirely omit the institution of black slavery. Southern histories, such as the ten-volume History of the South, provide virtually no information about slavery among the Cherokees. 1 One of the best works on black history, John Hope Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom, is void of material on this topic. 2 Oklahoma history textbooks, even the multivolume compendiums, are also virtually silent about black slavery in the Cherokee Nation.

There are several works on the general topic of relations between Indians and blacks in the United States. Some have specifically treated ...


Southern Indians, including the Cherokees, have to a considerable degree been excluded from histories of the Old South. This is demonstrated by a perusal of general histories and other historiographical writing. In numerous works there is no mention of Indians. Where mention is made, it too frequently in only with regard to the colonial struggles among France, Spain, and England for control of the Old Southwest. Consequently, there is paucity of information about black slavery among the Southern Indians in general and the Cherokees specifically.

A considerable Afro-American historiography exists and some material treating Indian and black relations is readily found. Unfortunately, these materials do not often refer to the institution of black slavery within the tribes. When perfunctory references to black slavery among American Indians in general and Cherokees in particular are found, they all too frequently contain misinformation, unsubstantiated generalizations, and faulty analysis and conclusions. They have provided a distorted image of the subject that has become accepted by most scholars of all races. Consequently, a twisted stereotype has continually been projected.

From earliest times, the Cherokees appear to have been one of the largest and most advanced Indian tribes. They were an ethnocentric people and believed that they were superior to others, regardless of their tribes, races, or origins.

Both the Spanish and French used black slaves on their expeditions of discovery into the Indian country, and when the Cherokees first met these Europeans, they saw black men bearing burdens, performing labor, tending livestock, and acting as body servants. The Cherokees did not at that time or subsequently develop an affinity with blacks as brothers of color, both oppressed by the white man.

(note: John Hope Franklin is a Choctaw Freedmen descendant who's father Buck Colbert Franklin's autobiograhphy is also a must read. It is quite curious John Hope never wrote on this subject, especially because of his close association based on his family's history.)

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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