African Americans in the West (Cultures in the American by Douglas Flamming

By Douglas Flamming

Based at the newest study, this paintings presents a brand new examine the lives of African american citizens within the Western usa, from the colonial period to the present.

• A wealthy choice of images, many by no means ahead of published

• a very up to date bibliography highlighting major assets for extra research on African american citizens within the West

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The presiding judge was by birth and upbringing a southerner. Indeed, he himself had owned slaves before he moved to California. But that judge—Benjamin Hayes—sided with Biddy and Hannah. California, he said, was a free state, and no one in California could legally be held in the condition of slavery. Robert Smith, then, did not have the right to make them leave California and go to Texas, where he could claim them as slaves. ” 24 African Americans in the West Hannah’s story encapsulates the relationship between African American slaves and the expanding American frontier in the antebellum era.

Opportunity for what? For land, for a fresh start, for freedom from constraint, for gold and quick riches, for adventure, for a better life. Whether the western frontier lay just beyond the Appalachians, or whether there was no more frontier to conquer, the very idea that there was a “West” packed a powerful punch. The West became a place of dreams—a real place on earth where dreams might be chased down. This idea was not held only by white Americans. As will be seen in the chapters that follow, African Americans eventually came to believe the region held singular promise for a better life.

Studying history “for history’s sake”—for the simple enjoyment of it—is a worthwhile use of anyone’s time, but history also has a larger purpose. The history of African Americans in the West is important. Important? How? The answer is that history, generally, gives people a better sense of who they are as a people and a nation. Indeed, it is impossible to understand America and one’s own place in it without first knowing how America got where it is today. And knowing that requires a serious evaluation of our nation’s history.

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