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Photo: All black towns in Oklahoma

Early Tulsa: Black Towns

Between 1865 and 1915, approximately 50 years after the Civil War, there were at least 60 Black Towns settled in the nation. With more than 20, Oklahoma led all other states. The state’s first black citizens arrived with Native Americans as slaves and freemen on the Trail of Tears. A person of African descent who had been enslaved by Native Americans or had any “blood, cultural and/or treaty ties” to the Five Tribes were called “Freedmen.”

With help from the Five Civilized Tribes, Freedmen from the South settled the all Black Towns of Oklahoma. Most of these towns were established by African-Americans for African-Americans on land that was formerly held by one of the Five Civilized Tribes.