The true story of mob vengeance on two innocent Native American teenagers in Oklahoma
In 1898 after the murder of a white
woman, two young Seminoles
were chained and burned alive.
Hiding behind a wall of silence and
fearing reprisal for identifying their
executioners, virtually the entire white
community became involved with the
In this absorbing narrative Daniel
F. Littlefield, Jr., captures the horror
and details the events that incited
this alarming act of mob violence
and community complicity. Seminole
Burning not only gives an account of a
dramatic, violent event in Indian-white
relations but also provides insights into the social, economic, and
legal history of the times.
Although occurring during the heyday of lynching in America,
the execution of the young Seminoles proved to be not just another
sad episode in the history of injustice. Apparently a vendetta
organized by the extended family of the dead woman's husband,
it was orchestrated by landless whites, who for a week after her
murder, had harassed and terrorized more than twenty Seminole
men and boys in selecting victims.
For having taken them out of Indian Territory and into
Oklahoma for execution, the mob leaders became the target of
federal authorities. In the first successful prosecution of lynchers in
the Southwest, a special prosecutor revealed underlying motives for
the crime and convicted six.
Seminole Burning is not just the story of a lynching and an
account of how landless Americans invaded Indian Territory. By
placing this tragic case in context and against the large backdrop of
history, Littlefield connects it to federal expansion of court jurisdiction,
to federal attempts to dissolve land titles of the Five Civilized
Tribes, and indeed to the establishing of the state of Oklahoma.
Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr., Little Rock, Arkansas, is director of
the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas-Little
Rock and author of many books, including Africans and Seminoles:
From Removal to Emancipation, published by University Press of
208 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 3 maps, bibliography, index