Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Black (Indian Territory) History Month-Negroes Want to Make Oklahoma a Negro State

Negroes Throughout the U.S. to Make Oklahoma a Negro State

Prior to Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory becoming the state of Oklahoma there was a concerted effort by people of African ancestry to make the new state exclusively one that was governed by black people.

Indian Territory Newspaper Index (Negroes/Freedmen)
When I first looked at this index card and read the summary of the article it didn't occur to me that what was meant by "Oklahoma" could have meant Oklahoma Territory? Clearly the article was written in 1890 almost twenty years before actual Oklahoma statehood so unless it is just the manner in which people spoke about the geographical area, why call it Oklahoma?

The next thing that strikes me as curious is the population numbers in relationship to what geographical area being mentioned in the article. Here again, if this was Indian Territory and prior to the Dawes Land Allotment process how did they come up with those numbers?

Not to mention if this was Oklahoma Territory they were not giving the population of Indian Territory Freedmen who lived among the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole Indians?

Let me take it one step further, why would they have to agitate Indian Territory Freedmen about immigrating to "Oklahoma" they were already there! The formerly enslaved population of Indian Territory had a documented presence in Indian Territory since the 1830's when they participated (as enslaved people) during the infamous "Trail of Tears." 

These former slaves for the most part were already occupying land in the nation of their birth and in some cases were intermarrying with so called “state Negroes.” It also begs the question of how many people of African descent participated in the “Land Runs” or were they discriminated against for the benefits of those “Oklahomaists” (sic) that “got the land from the Indians?”

Perhaps there is more scholarship concerning these issues and since we are commemorating Black (Indian Territory) History month this chapter in our history deserves more scrutiny?

Indian Chieftain March 6, 1890 p2c1

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