Born into slavery in Spanish Florida in 1812, John Horse eventually became one of the greatest chiefs of the Black Seminole.
Horse was a cunning and ferocious warrior who fought Zachary Taylor’s troops on the shores of Lake Okeechobee, Texas slavers and Mexican filibusters along the Rio Grande, and Apache and Comanche Indians in northern Mexico.
Multilingual and multicultural, he was a skilled translator and mediator who led his people from the swamps of Florida to the prairies of the Indian Territory, through Texas and into Mexico. Horse negotiated for land rights with presidents and generals, from James Polk, U.S. Grant and Thomas Jessup in Washington, to Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz in Mexico City.
He was driven by only one desire, a thirst for freedom for him and his people. He died in 1882 in Mexico City, pleading with Diaz to guarantee land grants for the Black Seminole and former freedom seekers in Mexico