cover of book

Black Pioneers: Images of the Black Experience on the North American Frontier
by John Ravage
foreword by Quintard Taylor
University of Utah Press, 1997
Paper: 978-0-87480-941-1
Library of Congress Classification E185.925.R38 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 978.00496073

It is difficult to piece together existing records that describe the migrations of African Americans in the nineteenth-century American West. Efforts to assemble collections of oral histories, images, diaries, and other written documents on the black experience in the Western United States and Canada have proven surprisingly fruitful, however, and the rewarding culmination of such research flourished in the archival images found in this second edition of John Ravage’s Black Pioneers.

Using public and private collections in every western state and in Canada, Ravage has gathered more than three hundred photographs, line drawings, lithographs, stereoviews, and other images. This new edition also adds sections on black entertainers and ranchers, a chapter on the dating of historic photographs and their genealogical significance, as well as an expanded bibliography. All aid understanding of the black frontier experience.

Ravage goes beyond the stereotypical photography of the era, which often reflected white fears and prejudices, to present the works of frontier photographers. Galveston’s Lucius Harper, Denver’s John Green, and the Northwest’s nomadic James Presley Ball all bring life to their subjects and meaning to their presence in the American West. Black Pioneers is a vibrant visual document of the profound influence blacks had on communal and frontier history.
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