J.R.'s Reviews > On Promised Land

On Promised Land by Kae Cheatham
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Recommended for: everyone

There’s a lot packed into this novella—a riveting tale of survival against great odds, believable characters, suspense, romance and enough action to satisfy the most jaded reader. Aside from all that there’s a disturbing history of which many Americans are unaware.

In the 1840s in Florida the Seminole and blacks—free and runaway slaves who have taken refuge with them and adapted to the Indian lifestyle—are besieged by a new enemy. Americans who sought to recover lost slaves and who coveted the territory had their desire abetted by President Jackson’s plan to send all native peoples west of the Mississippi. Another of the many treaties with Native Americans was discarded without thought of consequences.

Tru Campos, a free black, his wife, Tall Deer, and their family are among those captured and forcibly sent west to Indian Territory. There the Seminole (not the name they called themselves but another of those derivatives originating with their enemies) endure hardships, scorn and the constant threat of having the blacks among them taken as slaves by the whites and their Creek and Cherokee neighbors.

Tru and a handful of friends break free from the dismal environment of Fort Gibson and stake a claim to a better life farther west.

Though the story ends on an optimistic note, Cheatham explains in an excellent afterword the plight of these people was not over when they opted to strike out on their own. Troubles with the American overlords continued to haunt the Seminole and the black Seminole into the 20th century.

This is an engrossing and educational story I would recommend to all.

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