Black Caesar

Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Wood Panel

2021

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Created by Mark Steven Greenfield as a part of his series, "Hey-Lo".

Balthazar, 2021, Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Wood Panel, 20 X 16, (L).jpg

Black Caesar, according to traditional accounts, was a prominent African tribal war chieftain. Widely known for his "huge size, immense strength and keen intelligence," he evaded capture from many different slave traders. Caesar was finally captured when he and twenty of his warriors were lured onto a ship by a slave trader. As they neared the coast of Florida, the sudden appearance of a hurricane threatened to destroy the ship on the Florida Reefs. Recognizing the ship's imminent destruction, the sailor snuck below decks and freed Caesar. The two then forced the captain and crew into a corner, most likely at gunpoint, and boarded one of the longboats with ammunition and other supplies. This began his career of taking over ships. Black Caesar operated as a pirate during the early-18th century. For nearly a decade, he raided shipping from the Florida Keys and later served as one of Captain Blackbeard's crewmen aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. Often times, when pirates would come across slave ships they would liberate the enslaved people; they were given the choice of either joining the ship's crew or getting dumped on the nearest land mass. Mark Steven Greenfield says, "I'm sure Black Caesar probably killed a lot of people, but he saved a lot of people, too. He gets a halo!"