A Black History Lesson by Dr. Marvin Dunn
Black Pirates on Biscayne Bay (Middle Grade Students)
Piracy lured many blacks to sea under the skull and crossbones. During the golden age of piracy, nearly one quarter of the crew members on pirate ships were black. The loot taken by pirates was divided without regard to race; thus, piracy was probably the first equal employment opportunity available to blacks in the New World. For at least some blacks, piracy was considered better than enslavement.
Pirates often used the channels that separate the Florida Keys as hideouts. They used Biscayne Bay and the surrounding area for re-supplying fresh water and meat, and for hiding from intended prey or hostile warships. As Spanish ships rode the Gulf Stream on their return trips to Spain, some weighed down by treasures looted from New World Indians, the pirates often attacked with unimaginable violence.
One of the most successful and ruthless pirates in the late 1600s was an African called Black Caesar. He preyed on ships sailing off the Great Florida Reef near present-day Miami. His presence on Biscayne Bay is recorded in tales of violence, white slavery, ingenious feats of seamanship, and yet-to-be-found treasure buried in the sands of south Florida. There are several conflicting accounts of Black Caesar and his henchmen, leading to the conclusion that there were probably two Black Caesars with more than a century separating their exploits. [to be continued] #tbeunfiltered #podcast #marvindunn #blackceasar #pirates #florida #sea #blackhistory #1600