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  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. The Black Towns Project. Purpose is to map the known Black towns (that is plotted and incorporated) townships of America 1700- present. To also provide a bit of history for those places.. We had plenty of settlements, villages and communities, squatters camps and eventually Freedmens colonies. Considering there are places in which we made and make up 65-100% of the population there were and are plenty of these aforementioned living arrangements. There were also such places in the north such as Seneca Village, or Five Points District or Weeksville Seneca Village Taking a Stroll Through History Seneca Village existed from 1825 through 1857. It was located between 82nd and 89th Streets and Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Today, this area is part of Central Park. Seneca Village was Manhattan's first significant community of African American property owners. By the 1840s, it had become a multi-ethnic community African Americans, Irish, and German immigrants, and perhaps a few Native Americans. In 1855, the New York State Census reported approximately 264 individuals living in the village. There were three churches, as well as a school and several cemeteries. Within two years, Seneca Village would be razed and its identity erased by the creation of Central Park. . 2
  3. 3. 3 Seneca Village in 1856, as interpreted and illustrated in a Topographical Survey for the Grounds of Central Park by Egbert Viele
  4. 4. Weeksville, N.Y.: A Refuge for Southerners and Northerners Courtesy of The Weeksville Heritage Center What is now Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, N.Y., Weeksville was the second-largest community for free blacks prior to the Civil War. James Weeks, a freed slave, purchased a significant amount of land from Henry C. Thompson, another freed slave. Weeks sold property to new residents, who eventually named the community after him. It thrived over the years, becoming home to both Southern blacks fleeing slavery and Northern blacks escaping the racial violence and draft riots in New York and other cities. 4
  5. 5. 5 Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC), Brooklyn’s largest African-American cultural institution, is a multidisciplinary museum dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn - one of America’s first free black communities. Using a contemporary lens, we activate this unique history through the presentation of innovative, vanguard and experimental programs. Weeksville advances its mission through history, preservation, visual and performing arts, ecology and the built environment. Our Mission To document, preserve and interpret the history of free African American communities in Weeksville, Brooklyn and beyond and to create and inspire innovative, contemporary uses of African American history through education, the arts, and civic engagement.
  6. 6. Five Points District, N.Y.: High Stakes in Lower Manhattan Today we know it as Wall Street, but from the 1830s to the 1860s, this area was the site of Manhattan's first free black settlement. Located on the five-cornered intersection of what were then Anthony, Cross, Orange and Little Water streets become infamous for its dance halls, bars, gambling houses, prostitution, and for its mixed race clientele. To the larger white community, the Five Points was both a warning about the dangers of racial mixing, and a threat to New York’s racial and social order. 6
  7. 7. 7 To white missionaries and reformers, the area was a mission field. To most middle class black residents of the city, the Five Points was an embarrassment. In retrospect, the Five Points simply reflected the changing geography of poverty and race within New York City as working-class Irish immigrants moved into and “whitened” previously all-black residential areas. - See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/five-points-district- new-york-city-1830s-1860s#sthash.dH9eQhGG.dpuf
  8. 8. African-American Population In 1790, when the first census was taken, African Americans numbered about 760,000—about 19% of the population. In 1860, at the start of the Civil War, the African-American population increased to 4.4 million, but the percentage rate dropped to 14% of the overall population of the country. The vast majority were slaves, with only 488,000 counted as “freemen.” By 1900, the black population had doubled and reached 8.8 million. In 1910, about 90% of African Americans lived in the South, but large numbers began migrating north looking for better job opportunities and living conditions, and to escape Jim Crow and racial violence. The Great Migration, as it was called, spanned the 1890s to the 1970s. From 1916 through the 1960s, more than 6 million black people moved north. But in the 1970s and 1980s, that trend reversed, with more African Americans moving south to the Sunbelt than leaving it. By 1990, the African-American population reached about 30 million and represented 12% of the population, roughly the same proportion as in 1900. 8 Read more: African-American Population | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0922246.html#ixzz39YJkviqg
  9. 9. 9 11 years before the Civil War. 13 years before the Emancipation Proclamation
  10. 10. 10 1890 25 years after the civil war
  11. 11. 11 2010 census
  12. 12. 12 1890 27 years after E.P. 11 years before the Civil War 1861- 1865. 13 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.
  13. 13. 13 1890 27 years after E.P. 2010 census
  14. 14. 2010 census 14
  15. 15. http://www.soulofamerica.com/black-towns-california.phtml Morris Turner, III Author Black Towns and Settlements 15
  16. 16. Although it is not commonly acknowledged, African presence in what is now described as the United States, does not begin or end with the institution of slavery. Despite this barbaric system giving rise to the most horrific and protracted holocaust known to civilization, the undaunting spirit of African people has proven a worthy match. The story of black pioneers who actively participated in the "town building" movement in the United States, is an incredible yet neglected story. These women and men, facing treacherous physical surroundings and even more harsh and unaccommodating human environments, circumvented the legislated racial supremacy by cultivating communities in areas whites considered uninhabitable. 16
  17. 17. Whether erected as stations along the Underground Railroad or strategic outposts in desolate territories, these settlements were often secluded in swamp lands, deserts, sand dunes or along rocky cliffs. They existed in nearly every state, as well as in Canada and Mexico. In this text, I highlight these independent pioneer communities, some of which continue to exist today. From Dempsey, Alaska to Eatonville, Florida, this missing chapter in America history will be revealed. 17
  18. 18. 18 * Hobson City
  19. 19. 19 Alabama http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobson_City,_Alabama Hobson City is a town in Calhoun County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 771.[1] It is included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Hobson City was Alabama's first all-black municipality, according to The Progress and Achievements of the Negro in the Art of Self Government, a book published in 1947 by Ross Black, a white lawyer. History According to Town Hall records, much of the area now included in the corporate limits of the Hobson City was once within the city of Oxford, Alabama. During the late 19th century, the area was known as "Mooree Quarter". The black vote from that area was a controlling factor during municipal elections. An account provided by an early settler of the community has been passed down through the years. In that account, a black person was elected as the Oxford justice of the peace. As a result and in keeping with campaign promises, an Oxford mayor went to the state capitol and had the corporate boundaries of Oxford redrawn to exclude Mooree Quarter and the black vote.
  20. 20. 20 The town was incorporated on August 16, 1899. Records from an Alabama newspaper, The Peoples' Journal, described the municipality as "the only municipality controlled and governed entirely by colored people anywhere in the United States." The newspaper further commented, "The whole country will doubtless be interested in the result of this experiment." Under the leadership of the first mayor, S. L. Davis, and the first police chief, James Duran, police protection was restored to the area. The town was named after Richmond P. Hobson, a white naval hero and member of Congress. More than a century has passed since incorporation. The town recently had buildings placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently in the process of qualifying other buildings as well. During November 2008, Alberta C. McCrory was sworn in as the 2008– 2012 mayor.
  21. 21. 21 Texas FREEDMEN'S SETTLEMENTS https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/uef20 FREEDMEN'S SETTLEMENTS. Freedmen's settlements were independent rural communities of African- American landowners and land squatters that formed in the eastern half of Texas in the years after Emancipation. These "freedom colonies," as blacks sometimes called them, were to a degree anomalies in a post-war Texas where white power elites rapidly resumed social, economic, and political control, and the agricultural system of sharecropping came to dominate. Freedmen's strong desires for land, autonomy, and isolation from whites motivated formation of these independent black communities. After the 1865 rumor that the federal government soon would provide all ex-slaves with "40 acres and a mule" proved baseless, most freed persons remained in the countryside and took employments with white landowners as day laborers, sharecroppers, or share tenants. Another large group of ex-slaves moved to settle in segregated "quarters" adjacent to white towns. A minority of former slaves, however, set out to achieve the dream of forty acres and a mule quite on their own, and a remarkable number of them succeeded. Landownership rates among African-American farmers in Texas rose rapidly from 1.8 percent in 1870 to 26 percent in 1890 to the all-time-high of 31 percent soon after 1900. Many of these new black Texas landowners resided in freedmen's settlements, informal communities of black farmers and stockmen scattered across the eastern half of the state. These were dispersed communities—"settlements," Southerners often called them—places unplotted and unincorporated, individually unified only by church and school and residents' collective belief that a community existed. Up in the sand hills, down in the creek and river bottoms, and along county lines, several hundred Texas freedmen's settlements came into being between 1870 and 1890. Many established themselves on pockets of wilderness, cheap land, or neglected land previously little utilized for cotton agriculture.
  22. 22. 22 Some patterns of community origin are discernable, although their relative importance remains uncertain. As in the case of Barrett, Harris County, many settlements existed for years as squatter communities before residents formally purchased or preempted land. Ministers and their congregations took the lead in founding some communities, as at St. John Colony in Caldwell County. At County Line (now Upshaw), Nacogdoches County, and other places, groups of siblings formed the core pioneers of settlements. As at Shankleville, a single black family with unusual resources for land purchase might serve as patron for a black community, which then grew up around it. Motivated by paternal attitudes toward former slaves, friendships or blood relationships with former slaves, or simply the need for ready cash, whites occasionally assisted the origins of such settlements as Halls Bluffand Fodice, Houston County, Grant's Colony, Walker County, and Kendleton, Fort Bend County.
  23. 23. Freedmen's settlement families clung tenaciously to their lands, although these fragmented into smaller and smaller holdings across the generations. By the 1920s, many residents found it necessary to rent additional agricultural lands nearby, rent-farm for whites, or work in town. The sequential impacts of the Great Depression and World War IIqqv led to the depopulation of many Texas freedmen's settlements, though some survived into the 21st century. 23 BIBLIOGRAPHY: Michelle M. Mears, African-American Settlement Patterns in Austin, Texas, 1865–1928 (M.A. thesis, Baylor University, 2001). Thad Sitton and James H. Conrad, Freedom Colonies: Independent Black Texans in the Time of Jim Crow (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005). Ronald D. Traylor, Harrison Barrett: A Freedman in Post-Civil War Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Houston, 1999). Thad Sitton
  24. 24. 24 Gulf Coast BLACK TOWNS IN THE GULF COAST REGION Gulf Coast Towns Barrett (Harris County) Dinsmore – “Dinsmore is on Farm Road 1301 and the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway two miles east of Wharton in Wharton County. It was established in John Dinsmore’s quarter league by a black man, E. W. Roberts, for African Americans. The plat was recorded in 1913, and the town was named Roberts; the residents, however, called the place Dinsmore, and the name Roberts appears only on the plats. The original plat had thirty-eight blocks, with nine avenues running east to west and six streets running north to south. One lot was designated for a school, with a park across the street. The streets and avenues had the names of local citizens. The lots were small but cheap, and gave descendants of former slaves, now working as tenant farmers, sharecroppers, or hired agricultural workers, a place to build and own their own homes. The site was near Burr, which had the largest black population in the county because the large plantations along the Caney Creek had been in that area. After the railroad was built from Wharton to Van Vleck in 1900, white farmers moved in. E. W. Roberts, who owned and operated a brick two-story mercantile store on the east side of the courthouse square in Wharton, began selling lots in 1914. He eventually declared bankruptcy, sold all of his Wharton County holdings, and moved to Houston. A revised plat was recorded in 1920 that reduced the town site to three avenues, four streets, and ten blocks containing twelve lots each. The school and park never materialized. In the early 1990s Dinsmore comprised fifty houses, an estimated 250 residents, and one business.” -Bibliography: Wharton County Historical Commission, Wharton County Pictorial History: 1846-1946, Our First 100 Years (Austin: Eakin Press, 1993).
  25. 25. 25 Houston Freedmen’s Towns: There were several Freedman settlements established in the location of present-day Houston. At the time of settlement, these places were located outside of Houston and as Houston expanded, these areas were incorporated. These settlements included the Fourth and Fifth Ward, and Freedmanís Town:FifthWard Fourth Ward Freedmanís Town: “Historical and cultural legacies bounded by Gennessee, West Dallas, Arthur and West Gray Streets. This 40 block residential area represents the first settlement of the Cityís freed blacks. The district contains many examples of shotgun houses. Rutherford B. Yates House Historical and cultural legacies, 1314 Andrews in Freedmanís Town. The building will house a museum that will focus on the work of African-American printers. RTHL is designated a recorded Texas Historic Landmark.Antioch Missionary Baptist Church – Historical and cultural legacies, 313 Robin Street. Located in historic Freedmanís Town, this church was organized in 1866 and is the oldest Black Baptist congregation in Houston. Independence Heights Historical and cultural legacies bounded by North Yale, East 34th and I-610. This community was established about 1908 as middle-class African-American families began moving into the North Houston area. The first African-American Community to be incorporated in Texas, Independence Heights operated as a city from 1915 until annexation by the City of Houston. SM at 7818 N. Main, NR.”
  26. 26. 26 -Bibliography: Freedmanís Town Historic District. Texas Historical Subject Marker. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Hufsmith (Harris County)KendletonMissionValley (Medina County) Sources “DINSMORE, TX.” The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Fri Jul 4 7:51:06 US/Central 2003 ]. by Merle R. Hudgins. http://www.utexas.edu/world/texasblackhistory/Gulf-Coast.html Piney Woods Piney Woods Towns: Beaver Dam – “Beaver Dam is a small, predominantly black community fourteen miles northwest of DeKalb in northeastern Bowie County. The town, named for a large beaver dam on a nearby creek, has never had a post office. In 1933 it reported one rated business and a population of ten. In the 1940s and 1950s the reported population was twenty-five. In 1984 Beaver Dam comprised a church, a cemetery, and a few scattered houses.”
  27. 27. -Bibliography: J. J. Scheffelin, Bowie County Basic Background Book. Cuney – “Cuney is at the junction of U.S. Highway 175 and Farm Road 855, twenty-two miles northwest of Rusk in northwestern Cherokee County. The site was first settled by freed slaves just after the Civil War qv and was known for a time as Andy, after Andrew Bragg, a former slave and the first black landowner in the area. A community, however, did not grow up until around 1902, when the settlement became a flag stop on the newly built Texas and New Orleans Railroad. Around 1914 H. L. Price, the cashier at the Farmers and Citizens Savings Bank in Palestine, and several other local investors formed a development company and platted a townsite. They named the town Cuney in honor of Price’s son, Cuney Price, who in turn had been named for Norris Wright Cuney, qv a prominent black politician and head of the Republican party qv in Texas. A Cuney post office was authorized in 1917, and by the early 1920s the town had two general stores, a blacksmith shop, several cotton gins, an eleven-grade school, a drugstore, and a hotel. In 1929, when U.S. Highway 175 was paved, most of the town’s businesses moved to the highway, a mile north of the railroad. The town’s population reached 100 in 1929 but declined during the early 1930s; in 1936 only twenty-five residents and six businesses were reported. Afterward the population grew steadily, from seventy-five in 1952 to 170 in 1990. When Cuney was incorporated in November 1983 it became the first incorporated black community in Cherokee County. A number of businesses closed after World War II, qv but in the late 1980s the town still sustained a post office, two grocery stores, an arts and crafts shop, a beauty shop, a garage, and a sawmill.” 27
  28. 28. -Bibliography: Cherokee County History (Jacksonville, Texas: Cherokee County Historical Commission, 1986). Hattie Joplin Roach, A History of Cherokee County (Dallas: Southwest, 1934). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Easton – “Easton is on Farm Road 2906 ten miles southeast of Longview in extreme southeastern Gregg County and northeastern Rusk County. Most of the site, first known as Walling’s Ferry and then as Camden, is near a bluff on the south bank of the Sabine River. In 1885 the Texas, Sabine Valley and Northwestern Railway built a line through the area, and by the late 1880s a large sawmill was in operation there. In 1890 Easton reported the Buchanan and Company general store, a lumber and shingle plant, and a population of seventy-five. The community declined, and most of the remaining white inhabitants moved to Longview or other towns. By 1940 Easton was a predominantly black community with one business and a population of fifty. It revived in the 1940s with the development of oilfields in the area. In March 1949 a post office was again established, after which the town soon incorporated. The incorporated area straddled the Gregg-Rusk county line. Easton had 297 residents in 1970 and 401 in 1990.” 28
  29. 29. 29 “[Major Kennedy] bought whole sections [of Texas land] at a time since land was inexpensive. By 1930, when the East Texas oil boom hit, he had acquired substantial land and livestock. The oil discovered on his land brought him greater wealth, and he joined with other East Texas blacks to form the Tiger Oil and Gas Company. Kennedy became a leader among African Americans because of his financial power and built the all-black town of Easton, on the border of Gregg and Rusk counties. He owned a mercantile store, a garment factory, a sawmill, a number of rent houses, and most of the land in the town by the time of his death. He supported the Pirtle Baptist Church in Easton and donated land for its cemetery.He also made generous contributions to Butler College, the Progressive Voters’ League, the YMCA, and various civil rights causes. He also constructed churches and schools in East Texas, financed the studies of a number of students, and donated fifty acres of land to the Boy Scouts of America for Camp Kennedy, which included a lake with swimming and fishing facilities. He and Mary had ten children. Kennedy died on July 12, 1952.” South Texas Plains South Texas Plains Towns: Cologne (Goliad County): “Cologne, on U.S. Highway 59 near the Victoria county line in eastern Goliad County, was established by two former slaves, Jim Smith and George Washington, as a place where freedmen could settle. Smith and Washington, who operated a freighting and passenger business from Indianola westward, bought 500 acres at the site on Perdido Creek. In 1870 the first families began moving into the settlement, initially called the Colony and later PerdidoCommunity. The name Centerville was adopted after Jim Hall noted that the site was halfway between Goliad and Victoria. Until after the railroad was built the town excluded all white settlers.
  30. 30. In 1889 the Gulf, Western Texas and Pacific Railway established a depot at Centerville but named the stop Ira Station, the name by which the community was known for about ten years. Hall exchanged land for the depot for a lifetime job as station agent and the guarantee that the railroad would not abandon the station. The town became a cattle slaughtering and shipping center, reportedly with a hog rendering plant as well. In 1898 a post office was established under the name of Cologne through the efforts of William Young. The new name was adopted because the abattoirs made the community “such a sweet-smelling place.” A Methodist church was established in 1880, then a Baptist, though both were destroyed in the 1930s. The Methodist church was rebuilt, but the Baptists began commuting to nearby Fannin. A one-room school served as the recreational center, and a permanent racetrack and a baseball team provided sport. In 1914 about thirty-five people were living in Cologne. The post office was discontinued in 1925, and the population declined to twenty-five by 1940. Thirty-five residents were recorded from 1970 through 1986. The railroad station and cattle pens no longer exist, though part of the original town is now the location of a large power plant. The town was mentioned in John F. Kennedy’s June 1963 speech in Cologne, Germany, where the president said, “I bring you greetings from the cities of America, including the citizens of Cologne, Minnesota, Cologne, New Jersey, and even Cologne, Texas.” In 1990 the population was eighty-five.” -Bibliography: Goliad County Historical Commission, The History and Heritage of Goliad County , ed. Jakie L. Pruett and Everett B. Cole (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983). Frank X. Tolbert, “Tolbert’s Texas” Scrapbook, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin 30
  31. 31. 31 “Cologne, TX” The Handbook of Texas Online – [Accessed Fri Jul 4 6:15:15 US/Central 2003 ]. by Craig H. Roell-Bibliography: Effie Kaye Adams, Tall Black Texans: Men of Courage (Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall-Hunt, 1972). Houston Chronicle Magazine, July 13, 1952.Sources: “BEAVER DAM, TX.” The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Fri Jul 4 6:45:15 US/Central 2003 ]. by Cecil Harper, Jr. “CUNEY, TX.” The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Fri Jul 4 US/Central 2003 ]. by Christopher Long “Major Kennedy” The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Fri Jul 4 6:15:15 US/Central 2003 ]. by Nolan Thompson “EASTON, TX.” The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Fri Jul 4 6:18:01 US/Central 2003 ]. by Norman W. Blackhttp://www.utexas.edu/world/texasblackhistory/Piney-Woods.html
  32. 32. 32 TEXAS Beaver Dam * Easton * Fourth and Fifth Ward Freemanis ** Barret * Dinsmore * Cologne
  33. 33. BLACK TOWNS - ARKANSAS Blackville Established in 1891 by Pickens Black, a former enslaved African who moved to Arkansas from Alabama. Located in Jackson County near Newport, Blackville had its own schools, church, store, mill, gin and even its own police department. In 1936, the Arkansas Gazette reported that "no crime of major consequence has been reported in the last ten years." Black, who was born a few years prior to the Civil War, moved to Jackson County in 1890. He, his brother and another African man bought 240 acres of uncleared land on an installment plan. Black increased his original third of the holding until he eventually owned the entire 6000 acres that became Blackville. Education and honesty were two characteristics highly coveted by Black. He taught himself to read and was a "wizard" at mathematics. He helped to establish two schools in Blackville and was among the first property owners to pay taxes each year. 33
  34. 34. Despite his accomplishments and status in the community, Black was a humble man regularly seen going about his business in overalls, a blue shirt and an old felt hat pulled down on his head. Blackville, located in the heart of the White River Country, was surrounded by forests which provided fuel and lumber as well as pecans, hickory nuts, walnuts and berries of all kinds. The Cache River, which bordered the settlement, supplied the citizenry with catfish, buffalo, carp, perch, bass, and other fish. Cotton was the primary economic crop in the community; however, corn, wheat, peas, and hay were also grown. During the Depression not one family in the town went hungry or had to accept government relief. Black's son, Pickens Jr., was a graduate of Virginia Union University and one of the few licensed African American aviators of his time. At his hanger in Blackville, he repaired planes for other pilots and hand built his first plane only to have the government restrict him from flying it. Lakeview Located near Helena in Phillips County, Lakeview was established during the pre-war New Deal era as a Farm Security Administration colony for African American families. 34
  35. 35. 35 * Blackville * Lakeview Arkansas
  36. 36. BLACK TOWNS CALIFORNIA Allensworth History of Allensworth, CA When the California Colony and home Promoting Association filed the Allensworth township site plan the Tulare County Recorder on August 3, 1908, it represented both the culmination of years of prior planning and organization and the start of what was to become the present town of Allensworth. In addition to specific historic information about persons associated with the organization and founding of Allensworth, the significance of the colony as a cultural phenomenon cannot be ignored. In the economic and social context of the United States, Allensworth represents a most remarkable achievement. Only 40 years prior to its creation, Blacks in California were excluded by law from homestead lands. One historian pointed out that the wording of the (California) Homestead law prevented a colored man from acquiring a plot of land. He might even purchase a home and yet, if a white person should claim the land, a colored person could not go into court and testify in his own behalf. It is clear that Afro- Americans. As a result, California, at the time, enjoyed no more rights than their fellow Afro-Americans in the North and the South. When California became a State, the territory was dominated by Southern Democrats and Northerners who were generally unsympathetic towards Afro-Americans 36
  37. 37. Beulah Under the leadership of founding member Mrs. Emma Scott and a generous donation of land by white businessman, George Montgomery, the Old People’s Home Association of Beulah, was erected in 1892. The Association, consisting of civic minded black women, sought to build a retirement community for black veterans of the California gold rush and others who were homeless, elderly and ill of health. Located in East Oakland within a stone’s throw of Mills College, this treasure of the Bay Area and the state of California, was the site of the Beulah "Home for Aged and Infirm Colored People." Alvin Coffey, a former enslaved person who made a fortune during the Gold Rush, donated a large sum of money toward the completion of the Home and was also one of the original financiers of the Red Cross. According to black historian Delilah Beasley, he later became the Home’s first resident. Another famous resident was Virginia "Jenny" Prentiss, liaison and commonly believed mistress to author Jack London. The board of directors, headed by Mrs. A.T. Stanford, was composed entirely of women but renowned sea captain, William Storey and William Purnell, one of Oakland’s first black doctors, were allowed to participate in an advisory capacity. The Home charged a lifetime membership of $500 and was self-supporting. Black churches, social clubs and societies contributed financially while private individuals supplied towels, pillows, and linen which could be readily used at the Beulah settlement. 37
  38. 38. The home continued to operate until 1938 when rising costs, coupled with the onset of the Depression, and increased housing options afforded by the Social Security Act of 1935, made its operation no longer viable. The Board attempted to move the Home to West Oakland, feeling that it might be more successful in the black community, however, relocation efforts failed and the organization was liquidated. In 1940, the original site was sold to Mills College for $13,000. Beckworth Strategically located in the heart of the California gold country, Beckworth was the only trading post west of the Salt Lake where travelers could purchase life saving supplies. The settlement was established by James Pierson Beckworth, one of the real mountain men of the West; a man truly larger than life and considered a legend in his own time. He was born April 26, 1798 to the union of an African mother and a Caucasian slave owning father. Beckworth first apprenticed as a blacksmith in St. Louis and later headed a fur expedition through the Rocky Mountains with General W.H. Ashley in 1824. Beginning in 1828 he spent several years with the Crow Nation [Rocky Mountain territory] where his prowess as a warrior earned him the position of chief. He married within the Nation and had several children. He was also multi-lingual, speaking several Native American languages as well as French and Spanish. Recognized as a truly extraordinary individual, he navigated the Beckworth Pass [now known as Sierra Valley], the first safe winter route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He participated in the Bear Flag Revolt, rode for the pony express, was a skilled trapper, gold miner and blacksmith as well as a respected scout for the Union Army. 38
  39. 39. Despite these incredible accomplishments, he was still a black man and the laws of California were a constant reminder of his tenuous status. The Right of Testimony Law, which was formally repealed in 1852 but remained in affect three additional years, prohibited testimony by African Americans in a court of law. It for this reason that Beckworth had to find a white man to file a suit on his behalf for the theft of one of his wagons. However, nothing ever became of the charges. Negro Bar Now the town of Folsom, the land was originally purchased by William Leidesdorf as a portion of the Rio del Rancho Americano land grant. Leidesdorf, an entrepreneur of African and Danish ancestry, also brought the first steamship up San Francisco Bay. He owned the land until his death in 1846, when it was sold by his dependents to the Folsom family. Negro Bar was also inhabited by black gold miners of the area. Negro Slide Located in Plumas County, a mining camp on the steep slope, two miles below Goodyear’s Bar and just above St. Joe’s Bar. African Bar Mining camp located in Placer County on the north bank of the Middle Fork of the American River above the junction of the Middle and North Forks. 39
  40. 40. Kentucky Ridge A colony established in 1851 by African Americans formerly enslaved by Colonel William English. Colonel English had brought these individuals to California to seek his fortune in quartz mining, however the operation did not prove profitable. The settlement, located near Hangtown [Placerville], was attacked by white vigilantes in 1853 after which the black founders moved to nearby Grass Valley and Nevada City. 40
  41. 41. 41 California Beckworth * * Negroeslide * Africanbar Folsom * * Kentucky Ridge Beulah * Allensworth *
  42. 42. BLACK TOWNS COLORADO African Americans in Colorado faced the same reoccurring dilemma as their brethren in other states: Was it humanly possible to live in "harmony" with the Caucasian race? Two primary approaches to this dilemma, each requiring great fortitude and resilience on the part of African people, were forged in Colorado. There were those who believed that the schism between the races could ultimately be closed if whites could be shown the true industry and worthiness that black people possessed. With hearts filled with the "self-help" philosophy of BookerT. Washington, these individuals pooled their meager resources and formed associations such as the Negro Townsite and Land Company, which would later establish the town of Dearfield near Boulder. Still others, for whom the generations of pain and degradation were synonymous with proximity to the Caucasian race, the only logical option was a return to African soil. Offering safe passage to Liberia for as little as $50.00, the Colorado Colonization Company was a staunch proponent of this repatriation movement. 42
  43. 43. Dearfield In 1886 residents of Boulder and Denver petitioned the Register and Receiver of the Land Office in Denver for the right to homestead Colorado lands. Several individuals acquired sizable plots of land over the next ten years; however, it was the forming of the Negro Townsite and Land Company in 1909, that lead to the establishment of the agricultural colony of Dearfield. To encourage development in the area, 100,000 shares in the company were offered at a cost of $1.00 each. The initial townsite covered 480 acres and included forty nearby farms of 160 acres each. During the first winter, which was extremely harsh, only two families had wood houses; others barely survived in tents or crudely made dugouts. What little wood there was, mostly driftwood, had to be carried three to seven miles from the Platte River. Families utilized buffalo chips and sage brush as their primary source of fuel. Fortunately, Dearfield was strategically situated on the Union Pacific railway so that as crops were raised, they could easily be shipped to nearby Boulder. In 1914, with nearly 1000 thousand acres of land under cultivation, the colony raised a significant amount of livestock and successfully produced crops of oats, corn, potatoes, watermelons, pumpkins, squash and sugar beets. 43
  44. 44. O.T. Jackson, one of the founders of the town, held the position of state messenger during the administration of several Colorado governors. He gave much credit to his wife Minerva for the eventual success of the settlement. While Jackson was often called to state business in Denver, Minerva promoted community affairs and maintained several businesses in the town, including a filling station, grocery store and lunch room. Dearfield, located about twenty-five miles east of Greeley, reached its peak in 1921. With a population of nearly 700 residents owning 20,000 acres, this desert town worth nothing just a few years earlier, had a net value of $750,000. The Depression, however, signaled the demise of the Dearfield settlement as well as many other small towns throughout the United States. O.T. Jackson, the founder of what is now a ghost town on the western prairie, died in 1948 as the sole survivor of the colony he envisioned 44
  45. 45. 45 * Deerfield
  46. 46. Delaware Little Hell A settlement of African American farmer workers who lived directly across the road from the Irish community of Little Heaven. Originally laid out in 1870, Little Hell is now marked by a weeping willow tree and Little Heaven by a roadside fruit stand. Charley Town The site of present day Townsend, Charley Town was named after Charles Lloyd, "a Negro living in one of the several Negro shanties that then comprised the settlement." New Discovery A pre-Civil War African settlement which stretched out for over a mile. This community was typical of many which existed in the slave-holding territory of New England. As late as 1920 most of the roads in southern Delaware were lined with such settlements. Migration of families to the North and widening of old roads have eliminated most of these communities. 46
  47. 47. Polktown Located opposite the entrance of Fort Du Pont, Polktown was the scene of Ella Middleton Tybout’s Poketown People, a volume of stories presented in African American dialect. Belltown In its "hey day" this community had a school, church, stores, a beauty parlor and a population of 300 residents. The town had a local government that managed community affairs and most of its inhabitants worked as fishermen in the town of Lewes or in nearby apple and peach orchards. Belltown was named for Jake [Jigger] Bell, "a free Negro", who in 1840 donated land for a church and sold lots for the establishment of the town. The town was also inhabited by Arnsy Maull, who practiced the voodoo arts and was known to be visited by both African and Caucasian clientele. Today, Arnsy’s son Silas, now an old man, disclaims any belief in "witchcraft". However, he does sell "charms" and "cures" made from herbs and other things. 47
  48. 48. 48 Delaware Charley Town / Townsend * * Polk Town / Fort Dupont * Star Hill / Camden * Little Hell * Bell Town
  49. 49. 49 * Fort Mose Rosewood * * Eatonville Adderlyville *
  50. 50. 50 BLACK TOWNS FLORIDA African presence in Florida is traced to the Spanish occupation of the state. Later, as African resistance to the system of slavery intensified, they sought refuge with the indigenous peoples of the region. As participants in early Spanish exploration of the state and directly involved in the settlement of St. Augustine, Africans were among the first non-indigenous people to settle in the United States. Their expert cultivation skills brought from Africa combined with the ability to speak several Native American languages as well as English, made them invaluable interpreters during the Seminole treaty negotiations. Eatonville Most notably recognized as the home of folklorist, anthropologist and Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston, Eatonville is one of the nation’s oldest surviving African communities. Following the Civil War, "free" Africans settling in the area worked primarily as farm hands clearing land or helping in the construction of nearby Maitland, a white township. Two of these individuals, J.E. Clark and Allen Rickett, had come to Florida with the intention of establishing an independent black community and they found Maitland, a community more tolerant than most to their cause, to be the ideal locale for their town.
  51. 51. 51 Maitland itself was founded by three Caucasian veterans of the Union army, one of whom was Captain Josiah Eaton. The townsite of was purchased from Eaton in 1887 and named in his honor. Two years after the town’s inception, the Eatonville Speaker ran the following headline: "Colored People of the United States: Solve the Great Race Problem by Securing a Home in Eatonville, Florida, a Negro City Governed by Negroes." Some historians describe Eaton as a humanitarian who sought to assist Africans in achieving "self governance", while others say his primary motivation was to keep them out of Maitland while maintaining access to their labor. The Robert Hungerford Normal and Industrial School founded in 1889, was fashioned after the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The school was endowed by E. L. Hungerford in memory of his son, a Caucasian physician who died of yellow fever he contracted while treating Africans who had been abandoned by doctors in Louisiana. The school, which continued to thrive as a private institution until 1950, had a staff of twelve teachers and provided vocational and academic training for 132 students. In addition to Zora Neale Hurston, other notable residents of Eatonville include Hall of Fame football player, Deacon Jones and Dr. Benjamin Perry, president of Florida A&M University.
  52. 52. 52 Rosewood Located approximately sixty miles southwest of Gainesville, the town was established in 1847 and named for the rosy color of freshly cut cedar. By 1855 seven homesteads had been erected along a dirt road leading to the Cedar Keys. In 1861 the Florida Seaboard Airline Railway established a depot in Rosewood and shipments of cedar and citrus led to the community’s early commerce. The enormous cedar trees found in the area were ideal for manufacturing lead pencils and in the 1870s were shipped by rail to the international mills of Faber and Eagle in Cedar Key. The town had been predominantly white until about 1890, when all the cedar in the area had been depleted and the pencil mills closed. Most white families moved out, selling or leasing their land to blacks in the community. The post office and school also closed, relocating to the site of a new cedar mill in Sumner, three miles west of Rosewood.
  53. 53. 53
  54. 54. 54 By 1900, the black community had become the majority population and black owned or operated businesses took advantage of the increased opportunity. M. Goins and Brothers Naval Stores prospered by distilling turpentine and rosin from the pine trees in the area. They also provided housing in a section of Rosewood that became known as "Goins Quarters." By 1915 Rosewood claimed a voting population of 355 African Americans. However, the population began to decline slightly the next year, when the Goins family was forced to close their business to avoid lawsuits from competing white businesses over land rights. A limited number of businesses did remain including a general store and a sugar mill. There was also second store in town owned by the Parhams, a white family. Rosewood was a quiet town with most families traveling to the white community of Sumner for employment. The men worked at the new cedar mill or hunted and trapped furs which were shipped to companies like Montgomery Wards and many of the women worked for white families of the town. This peaceful existence was interrupted on New Year’s morning 1923, the day after the largest Ku Klux Klan rally in the history of nearby Gainesville Florida. Fannie Taylor a white woman, claimed to have been raped by a black man, however, black citizens of Rosewood disputed her accusations saying that she contrived the story to avoid the detection of a secret love affair. Jesse Hunter, a black man who had recently escaped from jail became a convenient suspect. With their courage fortified by "moon shine," and armed with guns and the hate filled message of the previous day’s rally, Fannie’s husband and more than 200 men from Sumner and the surrounding communities set out for Rosewood. And the rest sadly is history….
  55. 55. * Rhodes Creek 55 Idaho
  56. 56. 56 BLACK TOWNS IDAHO African Americans traversed the plains of even the most remote of territories, including Idaho. York, the valued translator and mediator of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and legendary mountain man James Beckworth were among the first non-Native Americans to travel to the isolated Idaho territory. Traditional accounts of history, however, have been grossly neglectful in acknowledging their presence and contribution. The following statement by a black woman from Boise [circa 1900] in making her funeral plans, best articulates the realities African Americans encountered. "Don’t want to be buried from the church when I go. You see, I am the only colored member, and while everyone in the church has been good to me, I think it would better to be buried from the undertaker’s, for there might be some feeling, you know." In 1863, Boise County passed a law excluding blacks and Chinese from prospecting and 1865 introduced a bill prohibiting all black migration to the state. Rhodes Creek A mining settlement established by William Rhodes, a African American miner who had been successful as a gold miner in California. He came to Idaho in 1860 and by 1862 had accumulated $80,000 in diggings. His skills brought him the attention of many financial backers and he died in the winter of 1886 while developing a mine for silver ore deposits in the Bitterroot Mountains.
  57. 57. * BUXTON 57 IOWA
  58. 58. 58 BLACK TOWNS IOWA Buxton The largest coal mining community in Iowa, Buxton was settled by African Americans in 1880 and flourished until 1923. At its peak, the population was estimated to be 6,000 residents with 5,500 of them claiming African ancestry. In addition to miners, the community also included black lawyers, teachers, doctors, school board members, a post master and a justice of the peace. When Caucasian workers at the nearby coal mining camp of Mucakinock struck for higher wages, the Consolidation Coal Company recruited African Americans from Virginia as strike-breakers. This original group of 70 individuals grew to more than 4000 by 1881 and soon after, the mining operations of Mucakinock were abandoned and relocated to the coal rich region of Buxton. The minorities of Buxton were predominantly Swedish with a "smattering" of other nationalities including Scottish. When the settlement was abandoned in 1923 and literally became a ghost town, most of the inhabitants moved on to mining operations in Illinois. In 1981 Odessa Booker, an 80 year old resident whose father was killed in a mining accident, remembered a black baseball team, the "Buxton Wonders" parading down the street and that as a young woman she danced at the Sharp Inn Nightclub.
  59. 59. Nicodemus Rattlebone Hollow Mississipppi Town Hogstown Qundaro Wabusee Colony all around K city Dunlaps Colony Little Coney Colony Morton City Singletons Colony Daniel Votaw Tennessee Town and The Bottoms are in Shawnee county like Wabusee 59 Kansas
  60. 60. 60 BLACK TOWNS KANSAS Described as "The Great American Desert" and considered by Caucasians as only suitable for "Indian" habitation, Kansas held a primary role in igniting the growth of black settlements in the Midwest. Because of its proximity to the slave-holding states of Missouri and Arkansas, the isolation of Kansas provided a "safe haven" for liberation-seeking Africans but federal legislation proposed, and in many cases adopted, methods to eliminate this refuge. Beginning in 1820 and continuing until the mid-1850s, several federal "Southern Compromises" were initiated to promote the proliferation of slavery throughout the so-called Indian Territories, and in particular the state of Kansas. Political parties were created specifically around the issue of slavery and attempted to control the political balance. Both pro-slavery and free-state sympathizers began to set up towns and to recruit settlers. As the debate over "slave" vs "free" was waged, armed struggle became commonplace. The"Sack of Lawrence" and John Brown’s infamous "Pottawatomie massacre" were reflective of the level of violence which lead to the slogan, "Bleeding Kansas."
  61. 61. 61 By 1854 the enslaved population of Kansas had grown significantly; however by the late 1850’s this group was increasingly displaced by growing numbers of "free Africans" and "fugitive or runaway Africans" traveling along the Underground Railroad. As identified in the 1855 census, the population reflected 151 "free" Africans and 192 "enslaved" Africans living in the state. However, by 1860 there were 625 "free Africans as compared to only two "enslaved" individuals living in 23 separate towns. Kansas became the destination of various black colonization groups during the early 1870s, the most successful of which was the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association, formed in 1869 by Benjamin "Pap" Singleton. The initial objective of this group was to encourage independence-minded Africans to buy land in Tennessee. However, faced with opposition from Caucasian land owners and "artificially set" high prices, the settlers abandoned their attempt. These early efforts would nevertheless spawn an immigration movement culminating in the Great Exodus of 1879-1881. A period in which an estimated 60,000 Africans entered the state. Disgusted with the racial prejudice he encountered in Kansas, Singleton would eventually abandon his efforts to colonize in the United States and formed the United Transatlantic Society to promote the establishment of a separate black nation. Singleton, whose efforts were the precursor to Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association, considered organized emigration to Canada, Liberia, Cypress and Ethiopia.
  62. 62. 62 Nicodemus Nicodemus is a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History because it is the oldest and only remaining all-black town west of the Mississippi River that was started at the end of Reconstruction. The book Exodusters by Nell Irvin Painter focuses on the origins of the exodus to Kansas after reconstruction. Also penned by her and released in 2010, check out History of White People.
  63. 63. 63 Singleton's Colony The first of several colonies to be established under the leadership of "Pap" Singleton. Settled in 1874, this successful colony had an initial population of 300 people and was located on 1000 acres near Baxter Springs in Cherokee County. By 1878, the settlement included adequate housing [cabins], livestock and fruit trees to sustain the community. In 1881, the Agricultural and Industrial Institute for the Refugees was founded on 400 acres of land near Columbus and continued to operate until 1885, when it closed due to a lack of funds. Singleton challenged the need for highly educated "political Negroes" stating, "it was the muscle of the arm, the men that worked, that we wanted."
  64. 64. 64 Dunlap Colony Founded May, 1878 on the eastern border of Morris County, Dunlap was established by Singleton’s Tennessee-based colonization group. The colony, located adjacent to the white town of Dunlap, was situated on 7,500 acres of government land purchased for $1.25 an acre. Each colonist was required to purchase his/her own land, with the various plots ranging from 10 to 160 acres. Although the first year was extremely difficult, subsequent years brought prosperity to the settlement. Education was highly valued and the colony soon established four schools. The colony would also became home to the Literary and Business Academy with Andrew Atchison as principal. Dunlap, the last of Singleton’s colonies, received wide spread attention because of the extensive distribution of circulars in which he highlighted the advantages of the "fine rolling prairie, plenty of stone and water and coal within twenty-five miles." He continued his circular campaign through the Exodus of 1879-1881 in an attempt to attract migrants to the colonies he had established and to inspire the creation of othersDunlap, the last of Singleton’s colonies, received wide spread attention because of the extensive distribution of circulars in which he highlighted the advantages of the "fine rolling prairie, plenty of stone and water and coal within twenty-five miles." He continued his circular campaign through the Exodus of 1879- 1881 in an attempt to attract migrants to the colonies he had established and to inspire the creation of others
  65. 65. 65 Morton City The colony, located about three miles northeast of present-day Jetmore, was established in September 1877, by Africans emigrating from Lexington and Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Approximately one hundred fifty settlers filed articles of incorporation for the Morton City Town Company and began to lay out streets and construct homes. The town at one time, included three houses, more than nine dugouts and a frame building for the store. The settlers soon realized, however, that it was not economically feasible to establish a town so far in the wilderness, and decided instead to take up individual homesteads. Rattlebone Hollow An Exoduster settlement located near Jersey Creek and now a part of Kansas City. Mississippi Town Settled in 1887 by "Exodusters," the town continued to exist until 1927. Has now been incorporated as part of Kansas City. Hoggstown Named for its founder, William Hogg, the settlement is now part of West Heights Manor, an exclusive white residential area in Kansas City. Wabusee Colony A colony of Exodusters sponsored by the Kansas Freedmen’s Relief Association in 1879. Located about 50 miles northwest of Topeka, the town included 30 families who purchased 40 acre tracts of land at a cost of $2.65 an acre. By December of 1880, the community was reported as being self-sufficient. The most prominent member of the colony was Isaiah T. Montgomery, who was to later own the former plantation of Joseph Davis, brother to Confederate president, Jefferson Davis.
  66. 66. 66 Quindaro Founded in the late 1850’s by freed Africans and abolitionists, Quindaro supported a thriving community until the early 20th century. Since that time, "Old Quindaro" has been incorporated into the city of Kansas City proper. The Black Freedman’s University, later renamed Western University, was established in 1877 and was jointly operated by the state of Kansas and the AME Church. Many of the original black churches remain, as does the local black cemetery. Today, Quindaro remains a viable community and is studied as a significant archaeological site by the Kansas State Historical Society. Tennessee Town Settled by approximately 500 African American refugees from Tennessee, the town was locate in the vicinity of North Topeka. Part of the town still exists in area bounded by Buchanan and Washburn Streets. The Bottoms One of the oldest black settlements in the Topeka area, the town was established in the 1850’s and was located on the southern bank of the Kansas River. "The Bottoms" was destroyed by Urban Renewal in the 1960’s.
  67. 67. Summit Township A very small colony formed in 1879 when a group of Africans headed for Nicodemus, separated from the caravan and settled near the Swedish community of Falun. As farmers gradually left the area, Summit eventually merged with the town of Falun. The last resident, David Price, sold his property to the U.S. government for a bombing range in 1942. Daniel Votaw Colony Founded in 1881 by Daniel Votaw, a Quaker social worker and an agent for the Kansas Freedmen’s Relief Association. The colony was comprised of a group of African Americans from Texas who migrated under the leadership of Paul Davis. The colony disbanded in 1900 due to severe flooding of the Verdigris River and the death of Davis. Little Coney Colony With Rev. Alfred Fairfax as president, Little Coney was incorporated in 1881. Fairfax, who himself had been enslaved, brought 200 families to the area in early 1880. Before coming to Kansas he had served in the Union Army and had been very active in Louisiana politics. He was elected to Congress in 1878 but unfortunately had to flee Democratic mobs intent on preventing him from taking office 67
  68. 68. 68 * ESTILLS STATION Estills Station, Hall * Hall
  69. 69. 69 Hall A community that evolved from the refugee camp at Camp Nelson, one of the largest recruitment camps for African American military troops in the South. These men, who were emancipated upon enlistment, brought their families with them in hope that they would also be freed or at least escape slavery. Interestingly enough, Camp Nelson also served as a recruitment camp for whites from the slave-holding states of Kentucky and Tennessee, making its existence both a contradiction as well as a microcosm of the American society of the times. The army had not developed a policy on the treatment of refugees and the question of family members residing on the post was unresolved. This situation drastically changed in the summer of 1864, when General Speed Fry, the camp commander, began harassing and expelling black refugees from the camp and cooperating with slave owners by returning "their property." This practice continued until November 1864, when the last refugees were expelled, many of whom died of exposure or disease during the winter. Estill's Station A colony established by Monk Estill, Kentucky’s first known African American businessperson, in about 1782. Estill, who suffered under the system of American slavery and was later taken prisoner by the Wyandotte Nation, became a successful manufacturer of gunpowder.
  70. 70. 70 * St Maurice Mossville * Bobtown * * Washinton
  71. 71. 71 BLACK TOWNS LOUISIANA Bobtown In 1898, Robert "Bob" Celestin, a twenty-five year old man of African and Native American ancestry, and his father-in-law, Bob Creary purchased a large parcel of land. The property was eventually cleared and the settlement of Bobtown was created. Robert and his wife Betsy had twelve children; nine boys and three girls. After the death of his wife in 1921, Robert partitioned the settlement and gave an equal share to each child. As the children grew up and raised their own families, they assisted each other in building homes and making improvements to the property. The community eventually grew to include a family-owned store, a church and two taverns. There was also a barbershop that was built around a tree, leaving it undisturbed and extending through the roof of the building. Located an hour’s drive from New Orleans, Bobtown continues today as a quaint community of about twenty-five homes. The original home of Bob Celestin, who died in 1952 at the age of seventy-nine, is being considered for designation as a historic landmark. Most of the Bobtown citizens are direct decedents of the original families, the most legendary being Beatrice "Aunt Lulee" White-Bolden. Aunt Lulee who passed away in 1985, received national attention in 1983 when she registered to vote at the age of 107 years old. Washington Situated on the Morgan railroad, about six miles above Opelousas, Washington was incorporated in 1830 and had a population of about 1000 people. The town was recognized as a prosperous community which grew to include factories, warehouses, several fine stores and a large cotton and rice shipping business. Still flourishing into the early 19th century, Washington also had a local newspaper, both a Catholic and a public school and several churches. One of the earliest residents, Antoine Lemel, was reported to be "a rich negro who owned a large tract of land and a great number of slaves.“
  72. 72. 72 Mossville The town was settled by former enslaved Africans who were granted the land through a "fee-simple title acquired by squatters rights." In this manner, anyone who agreed to improve the property while residing for a specified number of years could attain ownership. After the Civil War, these individuals mostly from nearby farms, settled on the land and began growing crops and raising cattle. Originally known as Shoats Prairie, Mossville has a current population of 8,000 inhabitants. The area remained rural until the early 1900s, when the Locke-Moore Company built a sawmill. Lumbering became the major industry and was later joined by sugar refinement. The greatest period of growth occurred in the 1940s and 1950s, when petrochemical and industrial plants moved into the area Today, these plants remain the primary source of employment for Mossville resident Mossville is a small, predominantly African American unincorporated community[1] on the outskirts of Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is part of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area. The community is featured in the 2002 documentary film Blue Vinyl, which focuses on the health effects of nearby polyvinyl chloride factories on community members. The film features footage of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade collecting air samples to determine the toxicity of the community's air. Most of the homes that were located closest to the refinery have now been either moved to other locations or torn down.
  73. 73. 73 St. Maurice Established in the 1850s and located in an area of rolling clay hills in southwest Winn Parrish, the town was originally a shipping and supply depot for inhabitants of the Red River Valley. In 1900 the town had a population of 416 people and included many prosperous businesses; a telegraph station, several cotton gins, sugar refineries and mercantile establishments.
  74. 74. 74 * Harbor Island * Bailey Island * Malaga Island
  75. 75. 75 BLACK TOWNS MAINE Bailey Island First settled in approximately 1720 by Will Black, an African man and perhaps the best known frontiersman in the eastern part of the United States. Horse [now Harbor Island] Purchased on July 6, 1794 by Benjamin Darling, a freed or possibly escaped African who was known as a "sturdy and industrious individual." Although it is not clear how Darling arrived in the area, it is widely accepted that either his mother smuggled him out of slavery or that having saved the life of his enslaver during a shipwreck, he may have been granted his freedom. Darling, his white wife, Sarah Proverbs and their sons Isaac and Benjamin Jr. were the first inhabitants of the island. The family owned the property until 1847 when they sold it to Joseph Perry and then moved to Malaga Island.
  76. 76. 76 Malaga Island A maroon society, initially inhabited by Benjamin Darling and other Africans who had fled slavery. These early settlers maintained their ancestral languages and lived in caves to avoid detection. Established in 1847, Malaga Island was typical of many island communities of the eastern Casco Bay which were seldom occupied by "legal" owners. Fishermen would store their gear in crudely constructed sheds or shacks and often remain on the islands as unchallenged "squatters" for generations. Having little contact with the mainland, these individuals were not counted in the census, seldom paid taxes, and rarely voted. Illness and even death were taken care of at home, as was education. Most of the inhabitants of Malaga Island were direct descendants of Darling including his sons Isaac and Benjamin, both of whom married women of the island and raised a total of fourteen children. Over time other groups also inhabited the island including Irish, Scottish, and Portuguese.
  77. 77. Families inter-married and worked together for the mutual benefit of the struggling community. However, as the island became a more desirable "vacation" destination, there was increasing pressure to remove the inhabitants who had become an embarrassing "eyesore" to "respectable" members of the mainland community. Skillfully utilizing the press to denigrate the colony with newspaper headlines such as this one from the Casco Bay Breeze August 24, 1905, "Malaga, the Home of Southern Negro Blood...Incongruous Scenes on a Spot of Natural Beauty in Casco Bay", the stage was set for the illegal and inhumane eradication of the islanders. In 1912, the Malagaites, who had been wrongly characterized as an incompetent, lazy and mentally ill lot, were served with a writ to vacate the island. With no more than the signature of a mainland doctor, families were sent to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded in order to remove them from public view. The state then destroyed all the houses and shelters on the island, exhumed the graves of family members and destroyed all evidence that they existed. 77
  78. 78. 78 A January 1913 newspaper headline read, "Cleaning up Malaga Island, No longer a Reproach to the Good Name of the State" and noted "Not only have the inhabitants of the island been raised to a standard of living they probably never dreamed of before and all done for them that is possible under the conditions, but the state has saved a nice little bundle of coin as well." Today, the only remaining monument to those former Malagaites is a row of white markers on a grassy hill near Pineland Center. http://www.malagaislandmaine.org/about.htm a project in itself telling…….. the story of Malaga Island In this context, the Malaga mixed-race community was viewed as a burden, an eyesore, and a possible impediment to economic growth. While the eviction of the islanders was prompted by racism, eugenics, and political retribution, tensions over the island were clearly fueled by econoeconomic woes so removal of the islanders was seen as a way to solve part of that problem. Oddly, though, after the village was cleared from Malaga, nothing ever happened on the island. No hotels. No spas. No second homes or cottages. Nothing. Ironically, a few Descendants now store some of their lobster traps and fishing gear there. But, the island remains relatively untouched. Today, Malaga is owned by Maine Coast HeitageTrust (MCHT), a conservation group. MCHT has created a walking path and erected some signage but they plan to keep the island wild and uninhabited while still allowing the fisherman their limited use of Malaga.
  79. 79. 79 BLACK TOWNS MINNESOTA Although there were African American neighborhoods or portions of towns with black enclaves such as St. Anthony’s,I have found no actual towns or settlements established by African individuals. However, their contribution is clearly documented as in the following example of the Bonga family. In the late 1700s, a British officer brought the family to Minnesota where they eventually acquired their freedom.While still enslaved, the oldest son Pierre, became a skilled fur trapper and worked for the Canadian North WestCompany. He was proficient in the Chippewa language and for several years was the primary negotiator for the company. His younger brother, George became a legendary frontiersman and fur trapper as well as a recognized negotiator and diplomat. Because of his ability to speak English, French and several Native American languages, he was hired to negotiate treaties between the United States government and the Indian nations of the Lake Superior region.
  80. 80. 80 ***.Mound Bayou, Renova Winstonville *Davis Bend
  81. 81. 81 BLACK TOWNS MISSISSIPPI Davis Bend Before the Civil War, Ben Montgomery owned a store on the Hurricane Plantation where enslaved Africans would bring poultry and produce to trade for the dry goods, and white plantation families would shop between trips to the cities of Vicksburg and Natchez. Montgomery supervised the purchasing for the entire plantation and oversaw the shipping of the cotton crop. It was a typical plantation operation with one exception, Montgomery was himself an African. Montgomery was taught to read and write by the son of Jefferson Davis, and eventually learned land surveying, flood control techniques and how to draft architectural plans. He was also a skilled mechanic, inventing a boat propeller that allowed the blades to cut into the water at angle which reduced resistance. Jefferson Davis tried to get a patent in Montgomery’s name but was told that United States law prohibited "slaves" from acquiring patents
  82. 82. 82 Hurricane Garden Cottage Davis Bend After the war, Joseph Davis sold his land (some 5000 acres) to Montgomery for $300,000 at 5% interest. It was agreed that the entire principal would be due and payable in nine years and in case of default, the property would revert back to the Davis family. Montgomery set out to fulfill his lifelong dream of establishing an independent colony of "freedpersons." Despite his efforts, the times and nature were both against him. Agricultural prices fell and severe winter flooding ruined the levees, causing the plantation to overrun with insects. Montgomery was able to hold on until 1876, but with his loan well overdue, the property was sold at auction to the Jefferson Davis family for $75,000. Ben Montgomery died in 1877 but his dream to establish an independent colony was taken up by his son Isaiah, who later founded the settlement of Mound Bayou.
  83. 83. 83 Mound Bayou Recognizing the value of "location," Isaiah Montgomery purchased 840 acres situated midway between the Memphis and Vicksburg lines. Settling in 1887, Montgomery named the area Mound Bayou for a large Native American mound located at the center of the colony. The first threeyears were difficult but the inhabitants, most of whom were from the Davis Plantation, were able to manage a living through the sale of timber, cotton and corn. By 1907, twenty years after its inception, the town was thriving with a total population of 4000 residents. Renova Renova is located two miles north of Cleveland, the county seat of Bolivar County. In 1930 it was reported to have a population of some 450 African American citizens, most of whom were involved in farming. At that time there were two grocery stores, a Methodist and a Baptist Church, and the two story Rosenwald School. Remnants of the town site lie on old Highway 61 and the new Highway 61 runs about a one half mile east of the town. G.O. Ousley, who passed away in 1911, first came to the area with his family in 1886. He was the primary founder of the town and his home was the first to be built. However, it was a Mr. Carver, who owned a large saw mill, that gave the town it’s name of Renova
  84. 84. 84 Missouri Winstonville Also known as Chambers and Wyandotte, the town was originally settled as the site of a sawmill in 1908. Most of the land was owned by Mike Winston, an African American man in whose honor the town was named. Employing a man by the name of Chambers as the salesperson, Winston sold several lots and when the post office was established in 1910 it was given the name of Chambers. A railway (sawmill) settlement on the Y. & M. V. Railroad was known as Wyandotte, and when the railway station was built in 1931, it was given the name of Wyandotte. There are still several shops, a cafe and service station in this little oasis and most of the inhabitants are farmers who own the surrounding lands. Although, the area was known by all three names at one time or another, old timers refer to town as Winstonville, the railway station as Wyandotte and the post office as Chambers. Thus, the town with three names. Three Creeks Following emancipation, 100 former enslaved Africans homesteaded the Three Creeks area. Aptly named for the intersection of the Bass, Turkey and Bonne Femme Creeks, Three Creeks was characterized by rocky terrain, sharp slopes, and deep caves. Researcher Frances Jones-Sneed has traced the original African American ownership to John Jones, who purchased 160 acres in 1875 from a son-in-law of Eli Bass, previously the largest "slave" owner in the region. Slavery was not abolished in Missouri until two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Most African Americans who would eventually become landowners, usually started out working for their former enslavers. Purchasing land was only half the battle, in most cases keeping it was the greater challenge. In 1870, six African Americans owned farms in the Three Creeks area. By 1930, ownership had grown to 100 individuals with holdings covering approximately 4000 acres. By 1950, however, the acreage owned by African Americans had been reduced by fifty percent. People lost homes and property by unknowingly purchasing deeds already in foreclosure, properties encumbered by overdue taxes, neglecting to leave written wills or voluntarily selling at below market prices just to survive. Properties were routinely auctioned off for as little as $65 in back taxes and purchased by opportunistic white landowners in the area. The few remaining landmarks of Three Creeks include the Log Providence Baptist Church and the former home of Ida Walker Mitchell. Namrash Established in 1876, Namrash is recognized as the only African American town to have ever existed in Chariton County. Although most of the town was inhabited by blacks, many of the business enterprises were owned by Germans. A 1897 report states that at Riverside School, there were 137 students in attendance, 108 of which were "colored."
  85. 85. 85 * Overton * Dewitty Nebraska
  86. 86. 86 BLACK TOWNS NEBRASKA According to the 1860 Nebraska census, the total number of "free" Africans in the state was sixty, all of whom were women or children. Many of these women were married to white men and their children formed a major part of the "negro" population as identified by the census takers. Although small in numbers and faced with limited opportunities, Africans made their presence and contribution to the state one of conviction and substance. Black cowboys herded Texas longhorns to the railways of Nebraska, some staying on and working local ranches. Still others, arriving in Omaha after slavery was abolished, were employed by the Union Pacific Railroad as waiters or porters on long distance passenger trains. In Lincoln it was reported in the 1880 census that one third of the black population was working as cooks, barbers or carpenters. Homesteading was a difficult challenge, even for the most experienced and persistent farmer. In spite of the barriers, records reveal successful black homesteaders did prevail. The first "documented" and probably the best known was Robert Ball Anderson. Anderson, who had been born into slavery in 1843, was a Civil War veteran and among the earliest settlers in Box Butte County near Heminford. He arrived in 1870 and persisted under extremely difficult conditions to eventually own more than two thousand acres and specialize in breeding horses.
  87. 87. 87 Overton Wagon train leader Charles Meehan, and other former enslaved Africans, traveled the Underground Railroad to Canada, then returned to the United States through Nebraska to found the town of Overton in 1885. Two of the most successful settlers were LeRoy Gields and his sister Matilda Robinson. Utilizing the Kinkaid Act, which granted ownership to anyone who homesteaded for a five year period, they accumulated 1,120 acres by 1904. Dewitty 1907 a good read on Dewitty http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~necherry/Negro.htm
  88. 88. New York Black Towns Project 8 4 14 Sandy Ground 88 NEW YORK
  89. 89. 89 BLACK TOWNS NEW YORK Sandy Ground Now a neighborhood of southwestern Staten Island, Sandy Ground was settled in 1833 by African American oystermen fleeing the restrictive industry laws of Maryland. Centered at Bloomingdale Road between Rossville and Charleston, Sandy Ground became the first free black community in New York. Originally known as Harrisville and later renamed Little Africa, Sandy Ground received its current designation for the poor quality of soil in the area. The early settlers included a few local families along with oystermen from New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and Snow Hill-Maryland who were attracted by the rich oysterbeds in the area and by business opportunities not available in the South. The area was also a juncture on the Underground Railroad with the Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1850, used as a central meeting place. Inhabitants of the area were known to have large plots of land and prided themselves on their industry and self-sufficiency. Relations with local white neighbors, although not intimate, were cordial for the most part. As the oyster beds became overworked, many people turned to well digging, iron working, blacksmithing and midwifery. With the central economy eroding, many other families chose to leave the island entirely. In 1964 a terrible fire destroyed many of the old buildings, although several historic sites were fortunately spared. A 17th century private school; the home of William Pedro, who died in 1988 at the age of 106; and the Bishop Forge, the last private blacksmith shop in New York, still remain. Mr. Bishop, who died July 3, 1986, was an ornamental iron worker who considered his craft an art form and produced works from the same shop his father had opened in 1840.
  90. 90. 90 In 1991, the African American Burial Ground was discovered and with pressure from black leaders, community groups and the intervention of Congress, state officials were compelled to treat the site with an increased level of significance. Preservation and study of the site are especially important as it may contain the only intact 18th century African cemetery in America. Sylvia Moody-D’Alessandro, granddaughter of William Pedro and for twenty years the driving force behind the Sandy Ground Historical Society, was recently acknowledged with the 1998 Woman of Achievement Award for her dedication to preserving the history of the island.
  91. 91. 91 BLACK TOWNS NEVADA Although no African American settlements have been identified in Nevada at this time, my research has demonstrated that as with most, if not all states, Africans lived, worked and contributed to the growth of the broader community. Elmer Rusco in his book Good Time Coming?, identifies the presence of African Americans in early Nevada. The number of black individuals living in Nevada seems to have reached a high of about five hundred during the 19th century, with the majority living in Virginia City. Africans participated in silver mining in Nevada just as they did in the gold fields of California. Sixty-six black miners were part of the "rush to White Pine" in the late 1860’s but soon left, as did their white counterparts, when the mines at Treasure Hill failed.
  92. 92. 92 BLACK TOWNS NEW HAMPSHIRE Coit Mountain Located near Newport, Coit Mountain derives its name from Vance Coit, the leader of a colony of Africans who settled near the summit of the mountain, mainly on the eastern slope. A cellar wall and rose bush are all that remain to mark the presence of this community. Most of the residents of Coit Mountain were freedom fighters who had escaped enslavement. Charles Hall, who had come from Florida, secured his freedom by stowing away aboard ship with the help of the brother of Deacon Jonathan Cut. Other settlers of the Mountain included Robert Nott and Salem Colby; Tom Billings who later moved to Canada with his white wife; and Jesse Sherburn, a "boot black" and local poet.
  93. 93. 93 NEW HAMPSHIRE Coit *
  94. 94. 94 www.flicker.com BLACK TOWNS NEW MEXICO Blackdom Watch the story of on www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZO0-8P6hso The community was founded in 1908 by Marion Boyer, who walked to New Mexico from Georgia to pursue the dream of his father Henry Boyer. The senior Boyer hoped to create a self-sustaining colony where African Americans could own land and live in peace. The Black "kingdom" was remembered by Lillian Collins Westfield, a pioneer of Blackdom, as a "community filled with good neighbors and friends and an area of beautiful New Mexico sunshine."The irrigation system in Blackdom was not adequate and failed about 1920. Many of the areas residents, including the Boyer family, migrated to the community of Vado just south of Las Cruces, where many of their descendants live today. Sunday school class pic Webiste, http://www.huntel.com/~artpike/blackdo1.htm
  95. 95. 95 BLACKDOM *
  96. 96. 96 BLACK TOWNS NORTH DAKOTA Most people, black and white, acquired land in North Dakota not in colonies but as individual farmsteads. From 1880 to 1920, black men and women either homesteaded or purchased outright well over a hundred North Dakota farms. Thomas Newgard, author of Blacks in North Dakota, states that "at least ninety-six black men and women filed for homesteads in every corner of the state." As late as 1910, the state census acknowledged African Americans in forty-one of North Dakota’s forty-nine counties. Lithia Small town once named Montgomery in honor of William Montgomery, an African American "gentleman" who came to the state with considerable financial resources. Described in the Fargo Argus as a "self made man", Montgomery, who was born into slavery and later served in the Union Navy, owned more than a thousand acres of prime Red River Valley land. Today, twenty miles south of Fargo, a large farmstead and traces of an old grain elevator, mark the remains of Lithia. LITHIA *
  97. 97. 97 BLACK TOWNS NORTH CAROLINA www.wnct.com Princeville The town of Princeville is located in Edgecombe County in eastern North Carolina. Situated just south of the Tar River from Tarboro, the town was settled in 1865 by former enslaved Africans and was known as Freedom Hill. The town was incorporated in 1885 and 20 years later was renamed for one of its citizens, Turner Prince. Princeville, is the only incorporated "all black" town in North Carolina. It is a suburb lying on the east side of the river and most of its inhabitants work in nearby Tarboro. Present day Princeville, a town of approximately 2000 residents, has a mayor, a volunteer fire department and two police officers. The town is recovering from the great flood of 1999.Recent problems with mayor and employees abusing credit cards. Raleigh took it over in 2000 The audit noted that the takeover of a local government's finances has happened only five times in North Carolina history, and two involved Princeville (1997 and 2012). In 2012, the state expressed concern about whether Princeville could meet its financial obligations. Then the state's Local Government Commission voted to take over the town's finances..
  98. 98. 98 North Carolina * Princeville Beech Bottoms * Sedalia * Little California * * Hayti James City *
  99. 99. 99 James City A former freedmen’s camp site, James City was settled in 1863. The community was located in central Craven County along the Neuse River at its junction with the Trent River. The settlement was named for Horace James, a Union chaplain. Hayti At the movies black wall street The first documented use of name Hayti is found on a deed of 1877 in which a lot was sold "near the town of Durham in the settlement of colored people near the South East end of the Corporation of said town known as Hayti." Hayti lay outside the town limits of Durham, providing a natural buffer between Africans and Caucasians, which both races found advantageous. As early as 1867 Caucasian map makers referred to any predominantly African community as Hayti. The exact origin of the term is not known, however, it is noted that Africans may have used the term to express their admiration for and hope of emulating the independent island nation.
  100. 100. 100 Bull City barbershop and the book on Hayti by Andre D. Vann, Beverly Washington Jones
  101. 101. 101 Beech Bottoms The name Beech Bottom comes from the Beech trees that once grew along the river bank and the fact the area is known as a "lowland." The community is located in the northwest corner of North Carolina in Avery County and defies the previously accepted stereotype that African Americans did not live in the Southern Appalachian region. Arriving in about 1870, Hampton Jackson was one of first inhabitants of the area and was said to have raised two adopted sons. One of Native American and Polish ancestry and the other of Native American and German extraction. During the period 1900 to 1940, the population ranged from 80 to 110 people and included African American, Caucasian and Native American residents. The population began to shrink in the early 1940’s due to the decline in feldspar mining, the primary industry of area. In search of employment, most families migrated to Virginia or Ohio with hopes of finding work in the factories or military shipyards. Today Beech Bottoms, which may have a future as a summer vacation spot, has a permanent population of twenty-five people, twelve of whom are African American. The major business industry in Beech Bottoms, centers around two Christmas tree farms which employ three people.
  102. 102. Little California Settled in 1863 by the Freedman’s Bureau, this California lies on the East Coast and has its own unique history. It is uncertain how this northern Roanoke Island community got its name. Oral tradition of the area claims that a group of children attached a hand-painted sign that read "California" to a tree, and the name was Percy Tillett, a native of Little California, is one of eight sons of Joe Tillett, an original settler in the area. According to Mr. Tillett, the realities of small island life brought African Americans and Caucasians together despite Jim Crow laws. He states that "The sheriff would stand up at the highway and try to keep whites from coming over." used from that point forward. The street on which Mr. Tillett grew up, Fernando Street, was once known as White Cross Way because Caucasians took that route to enter Little California. In early 1915 more than 100 African American children, who attended a school which also served as a church, were taught by one teacher and a principal. Mr. Tillett says that during recess he watched a brick mason construct the new African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church across the street. The church took three years to complete and was built by one man who made his own bricks. By 1865 the community’s population had grown to more than 3000, as compared to the 1,200 citizens living there today. However, the overall island population has quadrupled to 25,000, bringing with it new faces and many new problems. Vivian Berry, a former resident of Little California, states "There are so many strangers there now, I used to know everybody. I don’t anymore." Mainland problems like drug dealing and increased violence have infiltrated this previously quiet and close-knit community. A combination of job scarcity and land speculation by investors is also contributing to the demise of the community. "Growth is good, but if we keep on going at this rate, my grandchildren will not be able to afford to live here," says Mrs. Berry. 102
  103. 103. 103 Sedalia The history of this small community located about eight miles east of Greensboro, goes back to 1870 when the Bethany Church, still standing, and the Bethany Institute were erected. Thirty years later, Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, a prominent African American educator, took charge of the institute which was a junior college and high school for "Negroes." She renamed it the Alice Freeman Palmer Institute in honor of the first president of Wellesley College. Under the fifty-year presidency of Dr. Brown, the Palmer Institute became recognized as one of the leading black preparatory schools in the state, sending more than ninety percent of its 1000 graduates on to college. The Institute, North Carolina’s first historical site honoring African Americans, discontinued its function as a school in 1961, but today offers educational exhibits, presentations and tours by Andre D. Vann, Beverly Washington Jones
  104. 104. 104
  105. 105. 105 With African Americans making up approximately 10 percent of the so-called "Indian Territory", at least 27 all-black towns, more than any other state, were created in Oklahoma. After the Civil War many of these individuals came to the state as formerly enslaved persons or as in the case of Rev. Willie Haney, members of Native American families. Edwin P. McCabe, a black lawyer and politician, directly or indirectly promoted the creation of every African American settlement in the state. McCabe had hoped to establish the state as an all black refuge from the brutality experienced in the South, however, the evil thought to be left behind had re-surfaced in the new territory. White citizens went to Washington to lobby against "black statehood." One member of the group commenting, "We will not tolerate Negro government here. If McCabe is appointed governor, I would not give five cents for his life." The proliferation and success of black towns throughout the state infuriated white opposition and where legal schemes and politics failed, more drastic means of intimidation were enlisted.
  106. 106. 106 Boley The largest of the black Oklahoma towns was Boley, founded in 1903 in the Creek Nation of "Indian Territory." Located on the Ft. Smith & Western Railroad, the town became very successful and was officially incorporated on May 11, 1905. The population soon grew to 4000 residents and the town was often visited by Booker T. Washington, who championed it as the "largest and wealthiest Negro town in the world." The annual Boley Rodeo, which began in 1905 and continues to be held each summer, was advertised throughout the South. The purpose of this event was to attract African Americans to area with hope that they would purchase land and join the community, which in many cases did occur. The intolerance of whites however, toward the growing progress of black citizens, was reflected in a black Boley newspaper, "Not only do they want the Negro not to vote but want him to get off the earth as well." A one hour drive from Oklahoma City, Boley has its own school district and a current population of about 300 people. The major employer of the town is Smokaroma, a manufacturer of custom barbeque pits. "Oh, ‘tis a pretty country and the Negroes own it too, With not a single white man here To tell us what to do-in Boley" by town poet Uncle Jesse
  107. 107. 107 Douglas City Exemplifying the hopes and dreams of typical town builders of the 1890’s, Douglas City was settled and managed by African American entrepreneurs and developed with their capital. The town consisted of 160 acres, ten of which were reserved for a public school. It was reported that more than 200 lots had been sold to African American families and that by 1893, the town had grown to include a general store, cotton gin, gristmill, a number of fine homes and a church. The school would be constructed some time later. Pinning their optimism on two primary assurances, town promoters believed that the community would ultimately thrive. The fact that the town was laid out on the survey line of the proposed Midlands Railroad, and that local businesses had "sweetened" the deal by offering to donate twenty acres on which to locate the state sponsored Territorial Normal School for Negroes, seemed a recipe for success. However, the route of the railroad was diverted and the school was established in nearby Langston. The Douglas community, which had postal service from 1894 until 1900, continues to exist in name only. The former townsite is now marked by a crossing at the intersection of the Turner Turnpike.
  108. 108. 108 Bookertee Named for Booker T. Washington, this settlement which reached its high point in about 1920, was located in Okfuskee County approximately three miles northeast of Weleetka. Earlsboro: Formerly Loftis Located in Pattawatomic County approximately seven miles east of Tecumseh. The townsite was established in June 1895 and named for James Earl, a popular African American barber of the area. Grayson: Formerly Wild Cat The town, which had a post office from February 1902 until April 1929, is believed to have been named for an African-Creek tribal leader. The following are excerpts as reported by "Uncle Felix," a resident of Grayson who died in 1993 at the age of 100 years old. Uncle Felix remembered some of the outlaws who rode the territory including Frank and Jessie James. He told a story of how the gang visited a black family and demanded dinner at gunpoint then later left a hundred dollar under each plate. Uncle Felix remembered how Pretty Boy Floyd and Cherokee Bill terrorized the plains, with black lawmen in "hot pursuit." His only regret was that after Oklahoma became a state, the first senate resolution enacted Jim Crow laws in 1907.
  109. 109. 109 Greenwood, Okla.: The Black Wall Street Courtesy of the Department of Special Collections, University of Tulsa In the early 1900s, African Americans settled in Oklahoma, seeking employment and other opportunities in the rich oil fields. Greenwood, part of Tulsa, became home to thriving black businesses -- decades later earning it the moniker "Black Wall Street." But in May 1921, Greenwood faced escalating racial unrest after a young white woman accused a black man of rape. The man wasn't charged, but that didn't stop a white mob from burning down Greenwood, the site of the worst race riot in U.S. history. Langston Founded by E.P. McCabe and incorporated in September 1891, Langston was located forty miles northwest of Oklahoma City on the direct route of the Santa Fe Railroad. With the opening of the Shawnee, Pottawatomic and other Indian lands by the federal government, Langston became a strategic point from which to launch the "land rush. "However, despite the claim by the Langston City Herald that freedom could be had in Oklahoma for as little as "a Winchester, a frying pan and $15.00," black settlers found themselves confronted with significant opposition. Challenges from whites who desired to control the territorial lands was to be anticipated, but the "free" African- Creek Indians, who called the southern blacks "Watchina" or "State Negroes", displayed tremendous animosity for those they considered "Uncle Toms" or "lackeys" of white plantation owners. These philosophical differences became immaterial when the federal government placed both groups in segregated schools away from whites
  110. 110. 110 Haney Settled by Rev. Willie Haney, an African-Seminole Indian. The townsite existed from February 1908 until November 1916. Clearview [Formerly Lincoln] The townsite was first plotted in June 1903 and located midway between Arkansas and Oklahoma Territory. Under the auspices of the Lincoln Townsite Company, the settlement was founded by Lemuel Jackson, of African and Creek ancestry, James Roper formerly of Tennessee and John Grayson who was born in the vicinity of the townsite. Rusk A settlement created when the entire black community of Rusk Texas, located just southwest of Dallas, pulled up stakes and relocated to Oklahoma just outside the township of Boley. Liberty A short lived settlement promoted by McCabe and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Although the Santa Fe Railroad initiated construction of a depot and several small speculative homes were built, the violent reactions of white residents of nearby Perry, made this project too dangerous for black settlers.
  111. 111. 111 Chase Originally established in 1903, it continued to operate with postal service until approximately 1926,although the name of the town had been identified as Beland some time earlier. Tullahassee One of the few "all black" towns that continues to exist today is Tullahassee. The only remnant of this once prosperous African American community, is the A. J. Mason General Store built in the early 1900’s. The Mason brothers ran the store and also owned extensive farm land and a cotton gin. When the last brother died, he willed the store to Marcellius Williams, their nephew. Before his death in 1950, Williams told of people coming from as far as 20 miles away to shop at the store. While their cotton was being ginned, farmers would purchase needed supplies and then spend time on the porch playing checkers and catching up on local news. Today, the Mason General Store is preserved as a historical landmark.
  112. 112. 112 Tennessee * Hortense

Notes de l'éditeur

  • African-American Population
    In 1790, when the first census was taken, African Americans numbered about 760,000—about 19% of the population. In 1860, at the start of the Civil War, the African-American population increased to 4.4 million, but the percentage rate dropped to 14% of the overall population of the country. The vast majority were slaves, with only 488,000 counted as “freemen.” By 1900, the black population had doubled and reached 8.8 million. In 1910, about 90% of African Americans lived in the South, but large numbers began migrating north looking for better job opportunities and living conditions, and to escape Jim Crow and racial violence. The Great Migration, as it was called, spanned the 1890s to the 1970s. From 1916 through the 1960s, more than 6 million black people moved north. But in the 1970s and 1980s, that trend reversed, with more African Americans moving south to the Sunbelt than leaving it. By 1990, the African-American population reached about 30 million and represented 12% of the population, roughly the same proportion as in 1900.
    Read more: African-American Population | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0922246.html#ixzz39YJkviqg