Black Pioneers: The Untold Story

Black Pioneers book coverOut of a past little noted in history texts comes this tale of African American pioneers in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. These pathfinders were slaves, poets, runaways, missionaries, farmers, teachers, and soldiers.

For these African Americans, the frontier meant freedom, and from the earliest times, some seized liberty by joining Indian nations.

As Southern slaveholders tried to pass laws to make slavery legal in the West and territorial legislatures wrote “Black Laws” that limited basic rights to white settlers, African American pioneers became freedom fighters. From Ohio to Kansas they battled slave hunters and developed Underground Railroad stations. Black families built their own schools and churches and created unique forms of protest to ensure their advancement.

Historian William Loren Katz reveals a frontier saga that has often been buried, glossed over, or lost.