Some African Americans entered the West as soldiers. These troops became known as Buffalo Soldiers. Though black soldiers often faced prejudice, they served their country with pride. Despite the barrier of racism, their courage was recognized by their commanding officers and even the U.S. Congress.
African Americans sometimes worked as lawmen to bring fugitives to justice. One of the most famous of these lawmen was Deputy United States Marshal Bass Reeves. A former slave, his law career took him throughout Indian Territory to what later became the state of Oklahoma.
Like other people in the American West, African Americans laughed, cried, fought, worked, and died. They made unique contributions and sacrifices that helped create a better country for themselves, their descendants, and all Americans. Visit the Al Harris Library and see the book display about African Americans in the American West. If you see a book you want to read, please check it out at the circulation desk. Pick up a book and read and remember the lives of these individuals.