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By Bruce A. Glasrud

Until eventually lately, histories of the yankee West gave little proof of the presence—let on my own importance—of African americans within the unfolding of the western frontier. There could have been a point out of Estevan, slavery, or the Dred Scott determination, however the wealthy and sundry adventure of African american citizens at the nice Plains went mostly unnoted. This e-book, the 1st of its style, offers that severe lacking bankruptcy in American history. Originally released over the span of twenty-five years in nice Plains Quarterly, the essays accrued right here describe the half African americans performed within the frontier military and as homesteaders, group developers, and activists. The authors handle race kin, discrimination, and violence. They inform of the fight for civil rights and opposed to Jim Crow, they usually research African American cultural development and contributions in addition to financial and political features of black lifestyles at the nice Plains. From contributors equivalent to “Pap” Singleton, period Bell Thompson, Aaron Douglas, and Alphonso Trent; to incidents at fortress Hays, Brownsville, and Topeka; to defining moments in executive, schooling, and the arts—this assortment deals the 1st finished review of the black adventure at the Plains.

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2 (Spring 1996): 107–15; Ross Russell, Jazz Style in Kansas City and the Southwest (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968); Frank Driggs and Chuck Haddix, Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop—A History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); and Roger Wood and James Fraher, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003). 29. Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier, 278–310; Bruce A. Glasrud and Laurie Champion, “A House Divided: Short Stories and the Civil Rights Movement in the West,” Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas (2000): 1–18.

32 Yet the fact that disparate accounts exist at all reveals how differently the civilian and military communities perceived the incident. Already suspicious of the patrol guard, residents now thought the army had protected a murderer. To prevent further hostility, Ovenshine withdrew the patrol and returned Hays City to the jurisdiction of civil law, the ineflciency of which only contributed to Cropper’s eventual acquittal. 33 The killings of Allen and Doyle commenced years of hostility between the fort and town.

Because it was a black settlement, however, a number of other factors that were unique to exoduster settlements must also be considered. Although local racial prejudice and discrimination contributed to the colony’s decline, another factor may have caused even more harm, and that was the misguided attempts of Dunlap relief agencies to transform as many exodusters as possible into landowners and independent farmers. I suggest that Pap Singleton’s colony ultimately fell victim to the best intentions of relief agency and missionary workers, who, during the Great Exodus, decided that it was their duty to relocate as many destitute blacks from Topeka and other Kansas cities—where they had gathered to take advantage of temporary “Pap” Singleton’s Dunlap Colony 49 housing and relief aid—to the Dunlap countryside, and in so doing placed an impossible burden on the Dunlap Colony.

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