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Black Frontiersman: The Memoirs of Henry O. Flipper, First Black Graduate of West Point

Overview

Black Frontiersman is Flipper's autobiographical account of his service with the Tenth U.S. Cavalry in Texas and Oklahoma and his years as a civilian that followed - one of only a handful of such accounts by a black American. Although Flipper's years on the western frontier have been well documented by historians, this revised and updated volume of Theodore D. Harris' Negro Frontiersman includes a new introduction, expanded endnotes and little known and previously unpublished materials. Flipper's memoirs detail ...
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1997-05-01 Hardcover New Brand New Hardcover! Pristine unmarked pages, no remainder marks, a great buy straight from book warehouse unread, sealed in plastic, exact artwork as ... listed, Read more Show Less

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Overview

Black Frontiersman is Flipper's autobiographical account of his service with the Tenth U.S. Cavalry in Texas and Oklahoma and his years as a civilian that followed - one of only a handful of such accounts by a black American. Although Flipper's years on the western frontier have been well documented by historians, this revised and updated volume of Theodore D. Harris' Negro Frontiersman includes a new introduction, expanded endnotes and little known and previously unpublished materials. Flipper's memoirs detail his time spent on the U.S.-Mexican border, his adventures in Sonora and Chihuahua before the Mexican Revolution, his time as an aide to U.S. Senator Albert Bacon Fall, and his later recollections on race and politics in the 1930s.
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sarah Flowers
This book is a survey of Flipper's life, a memoir of his Army days written in 1916, and a collection of his letters and articles. In 1877, Flipper became the first black graduate of West Point. He spent five years with the 10th Cavalry in the frontier, and while there he designed and built a drainage system at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which effectively eliminated a malaria epidemic and remained in use for nearly a century. While serving as quartermaster and commissary officer at Fort Davis, Texas, Flipper was accused of stealing from the base commissary accounts and dishonorably discharged in 1882, although no evidence of theft was presented. Flipper remained in the Southwest, working as a mining engineer, a surveyor, and a special assistant to U. S. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall. Harris's biographical introduction is followed by Flipper's choppily written Western Memoir: "First I..., then I.... Once I..." He relates some interesting tales about his experiences with the Mexican people, such as when he helped a New Mexico community prepare their land grant claim (Flipper's observations about the Mexicans vary, such as when he refers to them as shiftless.) A collection of letters follows, then an article Flipper wrote in 1896 titled "Did a Negro Discover Arizona and New Mexico?" -about explorer Estevanico. The next chapter, presumably written by Harris, details Flipper's association with Pancho Villa, and is followed by letters detailing his association with Fall. The book closes with "Flipper's Later Recollections and Views on Race and Politics, 1936-1940." Flipper is an intriguing and little-known character in American history, but this is not the book that will get YAs interested in him. Its usefulness as a resource for reports is lost because there is no logical flow. There is a lot of information here, but it is not easy to get at. Even the index is disorganized. The dull cover, awkward organization, and pedestrian writing style will not encourage casual readers. Perhaps some day someone will take the useful primary source material here and write a truly entertaining biography of Flipper. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 2Q 1P J S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, No YA will read unless forced to for assignments, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
Born into slavery, Henry Ossian Flipper (1877-1940) went on to become the U.S. Military Academy's first black graduate in 1877. He served with the 10th U.S. Cavalry in the Indian Territories until he was charged with embezzlement, court-martialed, and subsequently dismissed from the service for a lesser charge in 1882. Undeterred, Flipper later served as a mining engineer, surveyor, legal expert, and linguist for U.S. companies holding land in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. Harris includes an excellent overview of his subject's life, a chapter incorporating Flipper's 1916 unpublished autobiographical memoir, a section devoted to Flipper's historical scholarship, and sections on Flipper's later years of growing conservatism. The strength of this book is its documentation; its weakness is disjointed organization. Still, this volume is recommended for African American collections in public and academic libraries.John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens
School Library Journal
YAHenry Flipper, the first black West Point graduate, was a prolific writer who left detailed accounts of his life as an army officer, mining engineer, surveyor, and Senate aide. Commissioned in 1877, he was posted out West, where he served for five years as a cavalry officer. There he ran afoul of his commanding officer, was court-martialed, and dismissed from the Army on trumped-up charges. Rather than letting this setback ruin his life, Flipper stayed in the West and worked at a variety of jobs. He was a keen observer and provided detailed descriptions of the people he met and life in the American Southwest from 1870-1910. Harris has taken the best of Flipper's writings and divided them thematically. The selections are easy to read and are enhanced with annotations by the editor about the people Flipper mentioned, the places he visited, and the events in which he played a key role. The end product is a remarkable book of what life was like for a black man in the post-Civil War American West and during the Depression Era.Robert Burnham, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875651712
  • Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
  • Publication date: 5/11/1997
  • Pages: 190
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The Western Memoirs 17
2 Army and Civilian Letters 71
3 Two Black Frontiersmen: Henry Flipper and Estevanico 83
4 Legend of the Black Robin Hood of the Borderlands: Henry Flipper and Pancho Villa 93
5 The Path to Capitol Hill 105
6 Flipper's Later Recollections and Views on Race and Politics, 1936-1940 125
Notes 159
Suggested Readings 177
Index 181
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