The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

The black Seminole exodus to Mexico in 1850, under the leadership of Wild
Cat and John Horse, is of significant Texas interest. The account chronicles
their service for the Mexican government as a buffer against hostile Indians, and
their return to Texas in the 187os, where many of the men served as scouts for
the U.S. Army. Never numbering more than fifty, the Seminole Negro-Indian
scouts were effective far out of proportion to their numbers, with four of them
being awarded the Medal of Honor.
Their commander, John L. Bullis, was acclaimed "The Friend of the Frontier"
and was breveted to captain, major, and, eventually, promoted to brigadier gen-
eral. The scouts, on the other hand, were rewarded by a gradual reduction in
numbers and finally disbandment of the organization and eviction from their
homes on the Fort Clark reservation. The Black Seminoles is an important contri-
bution to black history, Indian history, Texas borderlands history, and U.S. mili-
tary history.
Fort Clark, Brackettville BEN E. PINGENOT
Discovering the Women in Slavery: Emancipating Perspectives on the American Past. Edit-
ed by Patricia Morton. (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1996. Pp.
x+32o. Acknowledgments, introduction, selected bibliography, contribu-
tors. ISBN 0-8203-1757-8. $20, paper.)
In much historical writing about the colonial and antebellum South, it seems
that all of the women are white and all of the slaves are men. With a few notable
exceptions, black women have largely been excluded from study. Discovering the
Women in Slavery makes an excellent start at adding gender to the writing on slav-
ery and adding race to investigations of southern women.
In fourteen essays, the writers use fine-tipped pens where only broad strokes
have been previously applied. Most of the essays are well written, and almost all
of them are deeply researched in imaginative primary sources: court and police
records; contemporary newspaper accounts; oral history interviews; rich collec-
tions of letters; census, tax, and church records; writings by elite women; and, of
course, the WPA former slave narratives. A thorough historiographical introduc-
tion by the editor, Patricia Morton, gives context to the essays.
Of particular interest to historians of the Southwest are Wilma King's essay on
women in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, discussing the daily battle of wills be-
tween mistress Tryphena Holder and slave Susan; Kimberly Hanger's study of
free women of African descent in Spanish New Orleans who struggled to eman-
cipate their relatives; Virginia Gould's discussion of gender in antebellum New
Orleans, where urban conditions greatly altered the parameters of slavery; and
Lauren Ann Kattner's comments on German American women in Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Texas, some of whom viewed their slaves more as equals than
did their Anglo neighbors. Other essays suggest topics and types of sources
which might successfully be pursued in the Southwest: interracial relationships,
by Victoria Bynum and Hel1ne Lecaudy; violence against slaves, by Carolyn Pow-
ell; white women's increased autonomy during the Civil War, by John Inscoe;

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed April 20, 2014.