The significance of the Afro-Frontier in American history Blackdom, barratry, and bawdyhouses in the borderlands 1900 - 1930

Timothy E Nelson, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The current narratives about Black people migrating from the South to America’s western frontier at the turn of the Twentieth Century fundamentally fail to capture the full nature of the extraordinary undertaking Black migrants endured with both great success and failure. Exoduster was a pervasive term that characterizes Black migration during the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century. The theme of Exoduster literature filtered the activities of Black people through the lens of fear. The “exodus” captured the idea that Black people migrated to escape the horrors of racist subjugation and violence indicative of Southern politics and culture. Often stories of All-Black Towns describe a promised land—one ordained by God and predetermined for the refugees. These scholarly narratives imply Black inferiority or lacking control over their fate. Narratives about frontier spaces reflect peoples’ entrepreneurship, opportunism, and grit. However, compared to the narratives focused on White frontiersmen, Black peoples within the same period and in the same spaces appear feckless side notes to the historical trajectory of history. Blackdom’s history offers the opportunity to construct a new narrative that allows for the further expansion in the study of Black People of the West with the use of a new conceptual framework. Afro-Frontierism. ^

Subject Area

African American studies|American history

Recommended Citation

Nelson, Timothy E, "The significance of the Afro-Frontier in American history Blackdom, barratry, and bawdyhouses in the borderlands 1900 - 1930" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10000761.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI10000761

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