Abstract

This article argues that Black Maroons were able to maintain a semiformal space of freedom in Territorial Florida through their work as go-betweens. Scholarship understands the utility of the Maroons to the Florida Indians, but this text posits that Black go-betweens, through their work as guides and interpreters, were also of vital importance to settlers. As Florida was Indigenous space prior to 1835, go-betweens became essential to settler ambitions in Florida, from officials of the Territorial Government to planters. The go-betweens’ ease of interaction with Indigenous and settler society shows that in spite of their status as fugitives from slavery, they could force the two dominant slaveholding societies in Florida to accept their claims of freedom. Furthermore, rather than simply falling prey to bribery, go-betweens used treaty proceedings between the Florida Indians and Territorial Government to have the interests of their own communities heard.

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