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By Douglas Flamming

From colonial instances to the current, this quantity captures the reports of the westward migration of African americans. in response to the most recent examine, it deals a clean examine the numerous methods African american citizens influenced—and have been inspired by—the improvement of the U.S. frontier.African american citizens within the West covers the increase of the slave alternate to its enlargement into what was once on the time the westernmost usa; from the post–Civil warfare migrations, together with the Exodusters who fled the South for Kansas in 1879 to the mid–20th century civil rights circulate, which observed many severe occasions ensue within the West—from the association of the Black Panthers in Oakland to the tragic Watts riots in l. a..

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Extra resources for African Americans in the West (Cultures in the American West)

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In this book, the West is defined first as a frontier and later as a region. This follows Turner’s lead in defining region: the early frontier was indeed the American West, but once the frontier process had ended, the The African American West 9 West—the nation west of the 98th meridian—became a section in its own right. The ideas of “process” and “region” are not incompatible. Indeed, for understanding African American history, and especially African Americans and the West, this approach is absolutely necessary, as the chapters in this book aim to demonstrate.

As will be seen in the chapters that follow, African Americans eventually came to believe the region held singular promise for a better life. They gave voice to what I call the Western Ideal—the notion that the West offered the best chance for racial equality in the United States. When whites cheered about western equality, they almost invariably meant equality of opportunity among white people, but black westerners always emphasized equality of opportunity for African Americans, too. They sometimes emphasized their American selves to distinguish between themselves and the other racial and ethnic groups of the West—those that could be viewed as less American: Native American Indians, ethnic Mexicans, and Asian immigrants.

The United « 21 » 22 African Americans in the West States had annexed Texas in 1845, and in 1846 it declared war on Mexico, with an eye toward taking a possession of Mexican lands all the way to the Pacific Ocean. And the United States did just that, winning the Southwest and California. At the same time, the United States officially obtained Oregon Territory from the British—bringing into the Union all of what is now Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and part of Montana and Wyoming. Suddenly, there was a “New West,” and it all seemed a very long way from the South.

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