Meet General Garson: The soldier who attacked plantations to free slaves
This is a recent Facebook Post by respected scholar Ivory Toldson. Dr. Toldson took the time to share knowledge about General Garson (he was simply called “Garson). The story is inspirational on one front, but sad on the other. But this kind of information reminds all of us about the imperative quest for us to reclaim our history by using the Internet as a tool to circumvent the school system.
We’ve been lied to for most of our lives, so we must dig to reclaim the truth. If you have other special information about Black history that you think our audience should know, please send a message to the Black Blue Dog Facebook page.
Dr. Toldson’s post is below:
Recently, I asked a group of teachers and school administrators if their Black students would be more inclined to revere General Andrew Jackson or General Garson? Most of them had not heard of General Garson.
In 1814, General Garson was a free Black man who was the commander of a British outpost known as the “Negro Fort” on Prospect Bluff in Spanish Florida. After the War of 1812, British troops left the fort to General Garson and a militia of about 400 Black militiamen. From the outpost, General Garson provided refuge to Africans who escaped from plantations in Georgia and South Carolina. Eventually, the militia organized attacks on plantations to rescue other Africans held in slavery. After much angst among southern plantation owners, Andrew Jackson illegally sent troops into Spanish-occupied Florida to attack the fort, killing at least 200 free Black men, including General Garson by firing squad.
One must acknowledge the humanity of Black and native people to understand that the battle between General Garson and General Jackson, along with the ensuing Seminole Wars, was a civil war, not unlike the War Between the States. This is only one among hundreds of lessons omitted from Black students’ curricula. True American history involves Black people making a material contribution to the development of this nation, as well as to the liberation of Black people; often through armed resistance and social diplomacy. Contrarily, Black students are confronted with a cultural mythology in education that embraces historical figures who were complicit in exploiting their ancestors, against a faded backdrop of Black victims, bystanders, and a few isolated Black protagonists.
If we want Black students to be serious about education, educational leaders need to be serious about educating Black students. – Ivory A. Toldson
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