Black People : Black Towns, Past and Present

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by cherryblossom, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Long-buried story of black America


    BARRY, Ill. –– The three archeologists moved deliberately across a soggy Illinois farm field, marking boundaries for a vanished town where blacks determined their destiny on the American frontier well before the Civil War.

    The town, New Philadelphia, turned out to be bigger than they thought.

    So, too, scholars believe, is the long-buried story of black Americans during this period.

    With fresh scholarship, new grants and high technology, university archeologists are renewing and expanding efforts to explore the Midwestern towns where African-Americans lived in the 1800s. In the last few years they have pried back the earth in Nicodemus, Kan., reconsidered the lessons of places like Buxton, Iowa, and returned this spring to the hilltop site of New Philadelphia, where digging began in 2002.

    Tantalizing recoveries from the sites, along with yellowed documents and oral history, have fueled a surge of interest in black towns during the last several years, building hopes that the interest would help rewrite a neglected chapter in American history books. Scholars of African-American history are familiar with the idea of blacks as land speculators and utopian pioneers.

    Now archeologists––more recent arrivals to the topic––are adding concrete details.

    Every discarded button from a Civil War uniform, shard of china from England or food scrap from trash pits adds to an emerging narrative in which African-Americans faced and surmounted obstacles on the frontier when much of America was consumed with racial turmoil.

    "Black people had guns, and they owned the land," University of Illinois scholar Abdul Alkalimat said of New Philadelphia, which was established in 1836. "Whatever the definition of black power is, it certainly existed in New Philadelphia."


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-blacktowns_bd08jun08,0,9628.story
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Brooklyn, Illinois

    Brooklyn, Illinois
    Archaeology Project

    Brooklyn was established in the 1820s across the Mississippi River from St. Louis and the slave state of Missouri. It was started as a settlement of African Americans escaping slavery, and later became the first black town in America to be incorporated. The growing town was also called Lovejoy in honor of abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy, who was killed by a pro-slavery mob in nearby Alton, Illinois, in 1837.

    Brooklyn grew as a community of craftspeople, laborers, and their families. A plat of the town was filed in 1837 and in 1873 it became the first African-American town to be incorporated. The goals of a new archaeology and historical research project are to understand how ethnicity, class, religion, racism, and developing markets influenced the ways in which individuals and families of this community made choices in shaping their natural, social, and built environments and in developing particular social traditions and economic strategies.....

    Continued: http://www.histarch.uiuc.edu/Brooklyn/
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Boley, Oklahoma

    Boley is a town in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,126 (including the local prison population) at the 2000 census.

    The Boley Historic District is a National Landmark.


    History

    The coming of the Fort Smith & Western Railroad allowed agricultural land to be more profitably used as a townsite. Property owned by the Barnett family, among other Creek freedmen, midway between Paden and Castle was ideal for a station stop. Once the railroad management was convinced a Negro town was viable Boley, Creek Nation, Indian Territory was created. As there were no other Negro towns nearby, the town population quickly swelled as the Great Migration got under way. During the early part of the 20th century Boley was one of the wealthiest Negro towns in the US boasting the first nationally chartered bank owned by blacks, and its own electric company.

    Booker T. Washington visited Boley in 1905, and was so impressed he included Boley in his speeches. Boley's development paralled the railroad, after World War I a fall in agricultural prices and the bankruptcy of the railroad caused Boley to also go bankrupt in 1939. With the Second Great Migration underway by 1960 most of the population had left.
    So far the New Great Migration has not benefited Boley.

    Boley Timeline

    1903 Founding
    1905 Booker T. Washington tours the newly incorporated Boley. Newspaper "The Boley Progress" starts publication.
    1911 Facts about Boley, Okla. the largest and wealthiest exclusive Negro city in the world. Published in 1911, Commercial Club (Boley, Okla)
    1922 "Produced in the All-Colored City of Boley, Okla." The Crimson Skull; Baffling Western Mystery Photo-Play, staring Bill Pickett, was an example of the race movie genre.
    1925, State Training School for Incorrigible Negro Boys was located in Boley, it would become the John Lilley Correctional Center.
    1926 The Boley Progress ceases publication.
    1932 Armed citizens of Boley thwart a bank robbery attempt by members of Pretty Boy Floyd's gang.
    1934 30th Anniversary Celebration
    1939 Fort Smith & Western Railroad and Boley go Bankrupt.
    1959 Smokarama founded.
    1961 First of the Annual Boley Rodeo & Bar-B-Que Festivals.
    1975 Boley Historic District given landmark status.

    Inscription on Oklahoma Historical Society plaque honoring Boley

    Boley, Oklahoma Est. August 1903 - Inc. May 1905 Boley, Creek Nation, I.T., Established as all black town on land of Creek Indian "Freedwoman" Abigail Barnett. Organized by T.M. Hayes first townsite manager. Named for J.B. Boley, white roadmaster, who convinced Fort Smith & Western Railroad that blacks could govern themselves. This concept soon boosted population to 4,200. Declared National Landmark Historic District by Congress 5-15-1975. Oklahoma Historical Society

    Quotations about Boley from Booker T. Washington

    "They have recovered something of the knack for trade that their fore-parents in Africa were famous for".

    "Boley, Indian Territory, is the youngest, most enterprising, and in many ways the most interesting of the Negro towns in the US."


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boley,_Oklahoma
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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