The Black West: A Documentary and Pictoral History of the African American Role in the Westward Expansion of the United States

Black West book cover“A guide to the real America…Usable, nearly lost, invaluable history”
— Alice Walker

“Seeks to break the shackles of conventional American historical categories”
— Howard Dodson, Chief Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

This entirely new edition of a famous classic has glorious new photographs—many never seen before—as well as revised text that deepens our understanding of the vital role played by African-American men and women on our early frontiers.

Inspired by a conversation William Loren Katz had with Langston Hughes, The Black West presents long-neglected stories of daring pioneers such as Nat Love a.k.a. Deadwood Dick, Mary Fields a.k.a. Stagecoach Mary, Cranford Goldsby a.k.a. Cherokee Bill—and a host of other intrepid men and women who marched into the wilderness alongside Chief Osceola, Billy the Kid and Geronimo.

Featuring captivating narratives and photographs (many from the author’s world famous collection), The Black West enriches and deepens our stirring frontier saga. From slave runaways during the colonial era, to the journeys of Lewis and Clark, to the charge at San Juan Hill, Katz vividly recounts the crucial contributions African Americans made during the scroes of frontier encounters. With its stirring pictues and vivid eyewitness accounts, The Black West is an exhilarating treasure trove.

Additional reviews

“Katz’s pioneering volume covers every phase of African-American life out West, from fur trading and homesteading to serving as scouts, guides and explorers to the military campaigns of the Buffalo Soldiers. First published in 1971 and now in its fifth edition, The Black West has an improved photo archive, offering more rare shots of black riders, ropers, cavalry members and ranchers, and includes a fresh section on black women on the last frontier…The Black West provides new information for those fooled by John Wayne films and TV shows like “Gunsmoke” into thinking only whites wielded six-guns and broke broncos.” Read the complete review.
—America’s Book Review