Seminole burning: a story of racial vengeance by Daniel F. Littlefield

By Daniel F. Littlefield

In 1898 after the homicide of a white girl, younger Seminoles have been chained and burned alive. Hiding at the back of a wall of silence and fearing reprisal for choosing their executioners, almost the total white neighborhood turned concerned with the ghastly execution.

In this soaking up narrative Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr., captures the horror and info the occasions that incited this alarming act of mob violence and group complicity. Seminole Burning not just offers an account of a dramatic, violent occasion in Indian–white kinfolk but in addition presents insights into the social, monetary, and felony background of the times.

Although happening through the heyday of lynching in the USA, the execution of the younger Seminoles proved to be not only one other unhappy episode within the historical past of injustice. it seems that a vendetta equipped through the nuclear family of the useless woman’s husband, it used to be orchestrated through landless whites, who for every week after her homicide, had stressed and terrorized greater than twenty Seminole males and boys in opting for victims.

For having taken them out of Indian Territory and into Oklahoma for execution, the mob leaders grew to become the objective of federal specialists. within the first profitable prosecution of lynchers within the Southwest, a unique prosecutor published underlying reasons for the crime and convicted six.

Seminole Burning is not only the tale of a lynching and an account of ways landless american citizens invaded Indian Territory. by means of putting this tragic case in context and opposed to the massive backdrop of historical past, Littlefield connects it to federal enlargement of court docket jurisdiction, to federal makes an attempt to dissolve land titles of the 5 Civilized Tribes, and certainly to the constructing of the kingdom of Oklahoma.

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McGeisey, a man of growing prominence in Seminole affairs. Though McGeisey had had brushes with the law in earlier years, by the late 1890s he had a good reputation in the Seminole Nation. He was about forty-five years old, well educated for his time, and in 1894 was elected one of the three school commissioners for the Seminole Nation. In 1897, the national council named him one of the commissioners to lay out the townsite of Wewoka. That same year he was secretary of the Seminole National Council and secretary of the Seminole commission that negotiated with the Dawes Commission.

Seminole law enforcement had implications for outsiders as well. "9 The Seminole code seemed particularly so. 10Americans, whose idea of due process of law included trial by jury and the right to appeal, found the Seminole code brutal. Only Seminoles who committed criminal acts against whites or members of other tribes in the Seminole Nation or committed Page 14 crimes outside its jurisdiction had the luxury of a trial by jury in the federal courts of Indian Territory or in the courts of Oklahoma Territory.

To garner wider public support for what they had done, they circulated false stories through the newspapers, not only of rape but of necrophilia, to incense the general public in Oklahoma. Because they had truly believed those storiesor chose to in order to salve their consciencesthe people of Maud could celebrate Mont Ballard's return in 1906. Thus there were forces at work in the event that most citizens of Maud, even some of the mob members, and most federal officials did not seem to recognize.

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