At the end of September 2022 I watched videos each day of Hurricane Ian approaching southwest Florida, and eventually coming ashore near Fort Myers, Florida. In the following days, most people and news organizations focused on the damage done to Sanibel Island, where the causeway connecting it to Fort Myers had been washed away, leaving it cut off.
Though storm damage was sustained throughout west coast, central, and east coast Florida, I believe that Fort Myers and Sanibel Island received the most attention because of the imagery of lavish homes and exclusive white neighborhoods having been destroyed, flooded McLarens and Ferraris, and yachts washed up onto what had been people’s lawns.
My belief is that much of Florida, especially places like Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel Island, and the other barrier islands, have been greatly overdeveloped. Originally being marsh land, swamps, and sand dunes less than 8ft above sea level, it was inevitable that all of these areas would flood during yearly hurricanes.
I know what developers, real estate agents, builders, and building contractors in southwest Florida were thinking. They were thinking about getting rich off of selling this developed swamp land to rich people from out-of-state. Rich people and retirees who cashed-out of their homes in expensive areas of New York and New Jersey. Hurry up and get the water, sewer, electric, roads, houses, and lawns in before a hurricane hits, and these people won’t even know.
How could developers, real estate agents, and building contractors be held legally and financially responsible for homes and neighborhoods being destroyed by a “hurricane”? They couldn’t. Why would City and County Building Departments allow new housing developments to be built on marsh land and swamps? For economic growth, infrastructure funding, and increased tax revenue.
The Yankees from up north didn’t know, realize, or understand that their house fifty feet from the water and less than 8ft above sea level was going to flood almost every year during hurricanes. They also didn’t know that their land had been stolen from the Black Seminoles.
In the 1600s and 1700s when Florida was owned by Spain, Black slaves who escaped from the southeastern states fled to the swamps of Florida where they were accepted by the Seminole Native Americans. These escaped Black slaves taught farming to the Seminoles, and together they created many successful farming areas in Florida. Spain agreed to allow these escaped slaves their freedom.
Illegally, a U.S. Military Officer, Andrew Jackson, led a raiding party into Florida in the 1830s to attack the Black Seminoles. Later as President, Andrew Jackson and others initiated several different wars against the Black Seminoles in Florida.
For those with short attention spans, here is an easy to follow YouTube video explaining Black Seminoles:
I think that the following three-page article provides more in-depth detail on another important aspect of the Black Seminole origin, character, and history: https://glc.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Black%20Seminoles%20.pdf
The know-nothing, care-about-nothing Yankees from the north, who invaded Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel Island, and the other barrier islands, are occupying land that was stolen from the Black Seminole Native Americans.
The Federal Government should return this land to the descendants of the Black Seminoles, and use the Federal Emergency Hurricane Relief money to rebuild the homes for Black Families to live in.