Estelusti Marginality: A Qualitative Examination of the Black Seminole

By Von Robertson, Ray | Journal of Pan African Studies, June 2008 | Go to article overview

Estelusti Marginality: A Qualitative Examination of the Black Seminole


Von Robertson, Ray, Journal of Pan African Studies


Introduction

African Americans have always maintained a marginal status position in the United States and across the Diaspora. In many studies of Black status, the focus has been in the areas of socioeconomic status and residential segregation (e.g., Massey and Denton, 1993; Oliver and Shapiro, 2006; and Shapiro, 2004). On the other hand, a substantial number of studies have devoted attention to the racial status of blacks vis-a-vis other groups, particularly whites (Anderson, 2001; Diop, 1974; and Karenga, 2002).

The present study examined the marginality, i.e., state of "double ambivalence", experienced by the Estelusti or Black Seminoles within the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma (Robertson, 2006, p. 33). Weisberger's (1992) construct of marginality was employed in this re-examination of Black Seminole ethnic group "double ambivalence" as used in Robertson's (2006) original work on Black Seminole marginality. Finally, the Black Seminoles or Estelusti, who are comprised of individuals of both mixed Seminole and African American, i.e., Black, ancestry (and those people of African ancestry who came to live among them) that today are scattered throughout Oklahoma and Florida (Robertson, 2002). They became official members of the Seminole ethnic group upon the signing of the U.S.-Seminole treaty of 1866 (Mulroy, 1993; Robertson, 2002, 2006; and Twyman, 1999).

Review of Literature

The review of literature examined antecedents to the marginal status of the Black Seminoles. Through a socio-historical investigation of the plight of Blacks with some traceable ancestry in the Seminole ethnic group, the following events were selected in this study of Black Seminole marginality: allotment, Jim Crow, enslavement, money, and ethnic group expulsion and reintegration.

Allotment Period

Senator Henry Dawes created the Dawes Commission via the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 (Bateman, 1991; Foreman, 1942). The commission mandated the allotment of lands in severalty to Indians on various reservations and to extend the protection of the laws of the United States to the Indian territories (Perdue and Green, 2001). The Seminoles commenced their enrollment process on December 16, 1897 and closed their rolls on December 31, 1899 (Mulroy, 2007). The final rolls included "1,890 Seminoles by blood, 248 Newborn Seminoles, 857 freedmen, 129 Newborn freedmen, for a grand total of 3,124 citizens" (Mulroy, 2007, p. 299).

The commission gave each Seminole and Black Seminole 120 acres, with forty acres designated as nontaxable (Mulroy, 2007). Notwithstanding the fact that the commission did not initially call for separate rolls, Mulroy (2007, p. 296) states "the commissioners soon found it expedient to create two Seminole rolls, one for Indians by blood: and one for freedmen."

The Dawes Commission was the first official governmental mechanism/agency that provided legal designations as to who "was" and who "was not" an Indian. Therefore, it laid the foundation for the determination of eligibility for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs and for social definitions of racial heritage among the Seminoles and the Black Seminoles/Seminole Freedmen that would become more salient among future generations (Bateman, 1991). Perdue and Green (2001, p. 118) argue that the ethnic group rolls created by the commission "reflected the racial thinking of the turn-of-the-century Americans. The ethnic group rolls carefully categorized the racial composition of each citizen." Along with this, it can be seen as at least partly responsible for the development of a "social pretext" wherein the Seminoles could view themselves as separate from the Freedmen through its creation of separate rolls for each group (Saito, 2000).

The Dawes Commission in 1896 began conducting an ethnic group census in preparation for allotments (Saito, 2000). The commission was responsible for negotiation with the "five civilized tribes" and establishing census rolls to ensure efficient allotment of reservation lands (Mulroy, 1993; Saito, 2000). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Estelusti Marginality: A Qualitative Examination of the Black Seminole
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.