TITLE: Sweet Freedom's Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails 1841-1869
Dr. Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, worked with the National Park Service, National Trails Intermountain Region to create this groundbreaking study about the African American emigrant experience on the Oregon, California and Mormon Pioneer national historic trails. Read her engaging study on this little known component of American history.
"African American men, women and children were western pioneers too. Enslaved or free, they were an integral part of the human tide that undertook the long journey across the continent."
"Black people, like their white counterparts, crossed the plains for myriad personal, economic, social, and political reasons. The lure of free land, new business opportunities, and individual autonomy were aspirations shared by both groups."
"Clearly, the lives, hopes, and expectations of nineteenth century black people differed in critical ways from those of white people. As a result, African Americans understood and experienced the westering journey in ways that white emigrants could not. The study of the African American experience on the trails broadens our understanding of the nature, scope, and meaning of westward migration. The experiences of the thousands of black men and women who came west compel us to reconsider the traditional narrative of our nation's history."
Did You Know?
Known as the southern route of the Oregon Trail, the Applegate Trail provided an alternative for settlers who wanted to avoid the perils of the Columbia River. After nearly 150 years the Applegate Trail still serves as the basis for the Oregon's major transportation route. More...