By: Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning Show
Black Caesar was an African pirate who was famous for raiding ships in the Florida Keys and serving as chief lieutenant for the famous Captain Blackbeard aboard the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge.
A large man known for his intelligence, Black Caesar was a tribal chieftain in West Africa. Many slave traders had tried to capture him; one was successful. Caesar and his warriors were lured onto a ship by a trader who offered to show them jewelry and other riches that were too heavy to bring to shore. Once they were onboard, the ship raised anchor and sailed away. Caesar and his men put up a fight, but weren’t a match against the pistols and swords.
Under captivity, Caesar refused to eat. After finally befriending one of his captors, he would only accept food from him on the voyage. That same sailor would help him attack the captain during a hurricane and escape. The men jumped ship to a longboat, taking guns and ammunition.
Caesar and his men sailed the Florida Keys posing as shipwrecked sailors, luring ships into traps to be attacked. For years, this was the routine for Caesar and the sailor, until their relationship was ruined over a woman who was brought from one of their raids. Caesar killed his friend over the spat and claimed the woman.
Caesar built a crew and harbored on the Mangrove Islands. It was said that he had a harem of female hostages and a prison camp. When he and his crew abandoned the island, he left the prisoners to starve, though some of the children escaped.
During the 18th century, Caesar joined forces with Captain Blackbeard to raid the mid-Atlantic. He was appointed to chief lieutenant. When Blackbeard was killed, Caesar tried to cause an explosion on land. He was captured, tried for piracy and hung in Williamsburg, Virginia. (I ain’t dead I is doin jerk music in eastern nc G’ville)
Caesar’s Rock, one of three islands north of Key Largo, is named in his honor, commemorating his original headquarters.