In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the West, 1528-1990

Overview

"This is an enthralling work that will be essential reading for years to come. You finish it understanding how integral a part blacks were of the making of the West and, indeed, America." — David Nicholson, Washington Post
A landmark history of African Americans in the West, In Search of the Racial Frontier rescues the collective American consciousness from thinking solely of European pioneers when considering the exploration, settling, and conquest of the territory west of the Mississippi. From its surprising ...

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Overview

"This is an enthralling work that will be essential reading for years to come. You finish it understanding how integral a part blacks were of the making of the West and, indeed, America." — David Nicholson, Washington Post
A landmark history of African Americans in the West, In Search of the Racial Frontier rescues the collective American consciousness from thinking solely of European pioneers when considering the exploration, settling, and conquest of the territory west of the Mississippi. From its surprising discussions of groups of African American wholly absorbed into Native American culture to illustrating how the largely forgotten role of blacks in the West helped contribute to everything from the Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation ruling to the rise of the Black Panther Party, Quintard Taylor fills a major void in American history and reminds us that the African American experience is unlimited by reion or social status. "[Rich] in scope and scholarly detail — it will certinaly stand as the definitive work on the subject for some time to come." — James A. Miller, Boston Globe "[B]y far the most complete general history of blacks in the West." — Scott L. Malcolmson, Newsday "An absorbing chronicle." — Publisher's Weekly "Those looking for a solid overview of the African-American presence in our region would do well to let Quintard Taylor be their guide." — John C. Walter, Seattle Times

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an absorbing chronicle more remarkable for its wealth of interesting facts and figures than for any overarching historical thesis, Taylor, a University of Oregon history professor, ably documents the history of African Americans in the American West. Taylor begins in the early 16th century, when the first Spanish-speaking black slaves of the conquistadors arrived in Texas and New Mexico, and carries his study through the civil rights era to the present. Dispelling the lingering stereotype of rugged, solitary black cowboys, Taylor shows that black Westerners were predominantly urban workerswaiters cooks, doctors, lawyers, restaurant and barbershop owners, schoolteachers, newspaper editorswho built community institutions (fraternal organizations, women's clubs) while striving to integrate themselves into the larger society. Among the many facts that will surprise readers is this: of the original 46 settlers who founded Los Angeles in 1781, 26 were Black or Biracial. Marshaling a wealth of primary source material, Taylor documents black Westerners' participation in all aspects of life in the American West and, in the process, reclaims an important dimension of African American history. Photos, maps. (Feb.)
Library Journal
This important new work is the first substantial study of African Americans in the American West. Taylor (The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 Through the Civil Rights Era, Univ. of Washington, 1994) covers the key individuals and events from the arrival of the first blacks with the Spanish in 1528 through the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. He also examines the similarities and differences between black culture in the West and in the rest of the country. Especially revealing is Taylor's analysis of urban life, which adds new perspectives to the stereotypes of African American Westerners as solitary figures. This extensively researched, well-written book builds on pioneering work found in Kenneth W. Porter's The Negro on the American Frontier (1971), W. Sherman Savage's Blacks in the West (1976), and William Loren Katz's The Black West (1987. 3d ed.). Stephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnston, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393318890
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Pages: 415
  • Sales rank: 662,978
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Quintard Taylor is a professor of history at the University of Oregon. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 13
Introduction 17
1 Spanish Origins, 1528-1848 27
2 Slavery in the Antebellum West, 1835-65 53
3 Freedom in the Antebellum West, 1835-65 81
4 Reconstruction in the West, 1865-75 103
5 Migration and Settlement, 1875-1920 134
6 Buffalo Soldiers in the West, 1866-1917 164
7 The Black Urban West, 1870-1910 192
8 The Black Urban West, 1911-40 222
9 World War II and the Postwar Black West, 1941-50 251
10 The Civil Rights Movement in the West, 1950-70 278
Conclusion 311
Notes 317
Bibliography 371
Index 397
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