…the Gullahs (Black Seminoles), exiled from their Florida strongholds, were forced to continue their struggle for freedom on the Western frontier. In Oklahoma, the Government put them under the authority of the Creek Indians – slave owners who tried to curb their freedom; and white slave traders came at night to kidnap their women and children. In 1850, a group of Gullahs and Seminole Indians escaped south across Texas to the desert badlands of northern Mexico.
They established a free settlement and, as in Florida, began to attract runaway slaves from across the border. In 1855, a heavily armed band of Texas Rangers rode into Mexico to destroy the Gullah/Seminole settlement, but the blacks and Indians stopped them and forced them back into the U.S. The Indians soon returned to Oklahoma, but the Gullahs remained in Mexico, fighting constantly to protect their settlement from the marauding Comanche and Apache Indians. In 1870, after emancipation of the slaves in the United States, the U.S. Cavalry in southern Texas invited some of the Gullahs to return and join the Army—and it officially established what came to be called the “Seminole Negro Indian Scouts.”
In 1875, three of the Scouts won the Congressional Medal of Honor—America’s highest military decoration—in a single engagement with the Comanche Indians on the Pecos River. The Gullahs had fled the rice plantations, built their own free settlements in the Florida wilderness, and then fought almost continuously for fifty years to preserve their freedom. It is little wonder they should provide some of the finest soldiers in the U.S. Cavalry.