Dr. Quintard Taylor, Jr.
Scott and Dorothy Bullitt
Professor of American History
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African American History | African American History in the West (Now available at www.blackpast.org)  

Curriculum Vitae:
In Search of the Racial Frontier

Book Description
The American West has long been narrowly labeled as a region with few African Americans and virtually no black history.  In Search of the Racial Frontier challenges that view in a rich, complex chronicle of western African Americans that begins in 1528 with the arrival of the Moroccan Esteban in Texas, the first of may hundreds of Spanish-speaking blacks.  By 1800 the earliest of the English-speaking blacks had moved West as slaves, fur trappers, or servants, creating the nucleus of post-Civil War communities.  Thousands of African Americans later migrated to the high plains while others drove cattle up the Chisholm Trail--the famous black cowboys--or served on remote army outposts.  Mormon slave Bridget "Biddy" Mason reached Utah in 1847, gaining freedom through the legal system nearly a decade later in California, and in 1872 founded Los Angeles's first black church.  The West's black civil rights movement began in San Francisco during the Civil War when women challenged the city's streetcar segregation.

In Search of the Racial Frontier is, above all, a story of urban life, for throughout history black Americans in the West have mostly lived in cities.  Reflecting that fact, this richly peopled story carries forward to the twentieth century when, during World War II, the prospect of good jobs and a freer life let to huge migrations that increased black populations in Western cities tenfold and intensified the region's civil rights movement during the 1960s.  This migration, in turn, paved the way for black success in today's Western politics and a surging interest in multiculturalism.

About the Author
Quintard Taylor is Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era.