Did you know that Oklahoma was and still is home to the greatest number of all-Black towns in this nation's history?
The settlement of Oklahoma’s all-black towns is inextricably tied to the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Native American tribes from the southeastern part of the country to Indian Territory. Many African-Americans who were held as slaves by the tribes made the journey to Indian Territory, as well.
All-Black towns grew in Indian Territory after the Civil War when the former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes settled together for mutual protection and economic security. These former slaves, or “Freedmen,” founded farming communities that supported a variety of businesses. Between 1865 and 1920, African-Americans created more than 50 all-black towns and settlements throughout Indian Territory.
The Land Run of 1889 brought even more African American settlers to the unassigned lands that now make up the state of Oklahoma. Newspapers began sprouting up in the new communities, and the towns were advertised throughout the southern United States as “promise lands” for black settlers.