Miss Charles Emily Wilson and Mr. William “Dub” Warrior: Our Griots

Windy Goodloe
July 19, 2023

When I was a young girl, I had the benefit of being surrounded by many people that I would come to know as my elders. The two most prominent of this group was Miss Charles Emily Wilson and Mr. William “Dub” Warrior. They were self-taught historians. However, their words held weight, and they were both deeply committed to telling our story to any and all who listened.

Miss Charles, as we affectionately called her, was an educator. She attended Prairie View A&M University, where she received her bachelor's and master’s degrees. After graduating, she returned to Brackettville, where she had been born in 1910, and taught the local Black Seminole children, alongside her sister Dorothy. 

She taught at the George Washington Carver school until the end of segregation. Then, she moved to the integrated Brackett ISD, where she was one of the few (if not the only) black teachers at that time. Upon her retirement, she became deeply involved in the preservation of Black Seminole history. She started the Seminole Indian Scouts Cemetery Association in 1967. This organization is responsible for maintaining the cemetery where the Seminole Negro Indian Scouts and their families are buried. In the late 70s and early 80s, we would begin celebrating Juneteenth and Seminole Days, our two big annual celebrations, because of her. 

Miss Charles was always clear about her intentions. She did all of this to get the youth interested in our history. She worried that young Black Seminoles would lose interest or not learn about our history because of disinterest or lack of exposure.

Miss Charles passed away in 2006 at the age of 96. When she passed away, Mr. Warrior continued until he passed away in 2020 at the age of 94. 

Dub Warrior was one of Miss Charles’ many students. He was a truck driver by trade, but spent his free time reading, researching and talking about the Black Seminoles. He had once said that his goal was to research back to the 1500s. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.

We are currently benefitting from their efforts. If it hadn’t been for their deep dedication to our community, we wouldn’t be the organization or community that we are today. Because of our dearly beloved griots, we have a clear understanding of the importance of our history and what we must do to preserve it.