“The Old West” was full of people of color. American History has neglected and / or eliminated many contributions, records, and lifestyles of black African Americans. Slavery and contract service were at the forefront of the adventures and suffering of African Americans.
The Old West, like many regions of our country, had its share of the criminal element, whether it was black, white, red, or brown. Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and gangs like the Daltons roamed and raided the plains, farms, and towns of Western civilization. Cherokee Bill was one of those people. Frank and his brother Jesse James were sometimes compared to medieval heroes like Robin Hood. Columbus is continually celebrated as a hero. The invasion of 1492 is heralded as the great American discovery. It doesn’t matter if you sailed to an occupied land with three ships full of criminals. It’s called the discovery of a new land and it will be called America. The invading forces came to make fortune and wealth at the expense of non-whites. They establish all the legal and economic rules of the game. Taking land and supporting and importing slavery. This practice was legal. Opposing her was illegal. These people who took and / or destroyed everything were hailed as explorers and pioneer heroes. They were identified as law-abiding citizens. People who were forced to live by means other than their own, mainly dark people, were considered outlaws.
Cherokee Bill, Dick Glass and the young Rufus Buck Gang arrived “at a time of deep political frustration for their relatives, the Black Cherokees and Creeks.” William L. Katz and others have documented this fact. Historical documentation recorded the arrival of criminals to the West from the north, south, east and west of the country. The people who resided there called its soil “The Land of the Six Shooters.”
Law enforcement officers also emerged to quell the practice of illegal activities. Judge Isaac Parker, a white man, protested his intention to carry out illegal activities. Parker vowed to shatter, with sardonic encouragement, the reckless and recalcitrant presence of outlaws. The “Hanging Judge” hired two hundred deputy sheriffs when he arrived at Fort Smith in 1875. He did not care what color or race his recruits were. He appeared to be color blind in his battle against the criminal element. At about $ 500 (or less) a year, dark-skinned deputy sheriffs could also earn money by collecting rewards. Men like Bill Colbert, Bob Fortune, Neely Factor, John Garrett, John “JJ” Joss, Robert “Bob” Love, Eugene Walker, Ike Rogers, Grant Johnson, Morgan Tucker, Dick Roebuck, the legendary and stubbornly fearless Bass Reaves became in deputies Marshals under Judge Parker. 1907 saw the departure of Judge Reaves and Fort Smith. Katz recorded that Brother Reaves spent thirty-seven years of his life enforcing the law. According to his book, “Black Indians,” he claimed during Reaves’ tenure as a law enforcement officer, only one man, Hellubee Smith, let go of the nets he cast.
Recorded American history has not been kind to the exploits of African American male legislators. A friend of mine, Mr. Robert Moore, provided enlightenment with his new book, “The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America,” which will be available November 1, 2010. These esteemed dark and complete United States quarterbacks , somehow managed to escape recognition and inclusion in the disparaging, inextricable, slanted and non-sequential list of the “Marshal’s Service History Book records. Now I wonder why?”
Robert Moore, a retired United States Marshal appointed by President Clinton in 1994, is one of 62 black men in the United States who have been appointed to the office of United States Marshal by only nine Presidents. Frederick Douglass was the first black quarterback. Their fight began 117 years after the appointment of Marshal Douglass. The 62 prestigious black men who were recommended by United States senators to nine presidents, went through extensive FBI background checks, were nominated by the presidents, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, confirmed by the United States Senate United and appointed by the president to administer a Judicial District: The names and accomplishments of these great men were omitted from the Marshal’s Service History Book.
Frederick Douglass was the first black Marshal of the United States, appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes. It would be 85 years before President Kennedy appointed the next black marshal, Assistant United States Attorney Luke Moore. Marshal Luke Moore would later be appointed in October 1962 to oversee the 127-man detachment that protected James Meredith when he joined the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). His involvement in integrating OLE Miss was never mentioned. John Marshall, the youngest son of Thurgood Marshall, who became the first African American to be appointed Director of the agency. President Clinton appointed him.
Robert Moore declares “Black Marshals appointed by the President and Deputy Marshals from 1875 to 1877”, “The President’s Men”, “Black Marshals in America”, “Members of America’s most prominent and elite black families” – (Fredrick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall Families) have been appointed by the president as the first black marshals since 1877 and director in 1999 respectively.
Senators from the United States recommended these prestigious black men to nine presidents:
Frederick Douglass 1877-1881 AD Rutherford B. Hayes
Luke Moore 1962-1967 DC John F. Kennedy
Marvin Washington 1969-1973 WD / WI Richard M. Nixon
Benjamin Butler 1969-1974 ED / NY Richard M. Nixon
George McKinney 1973-1977 DC Richard M. Nixon
Arthur Wilson 1975-1977 ED / IL Gerald Ford
Andrew Chisholm 1977-1979 D / SC Jimmy Carter
Frank Anderson 1978-1981 SD / AL Jimmy Carter
Tyree Richburg 1978-1981 MD / AL Jimmy Carter
Glen Robinson 1978-1990 ND / CA Jimmy Carter
Kernan Bagley 1978-1981 D / OR Jimmy Carter
Lee Limbs 1977-1981 AZ Jimmy Carter
Franklin Payne 1977-1981 ED / MO Jimmy Carter
Rufus Lewis 1977-1981 MD / AL Jimmy Carter
Jerome Bullock 1977-1981 DC Jimmy Carter
James Byrd 1977-1981 D / WY Jimmy Carter
Harry Marshal 1977-1982 SD / IL Jimmy Carter
Thaddeus Coney 1977-1982 SD / TX Jimmy Carter
Howard Turner 1977-1981 WD / PA Jimmy Carter
Willie Turner 1977-1981 WD / TN Jimmy Carter
Andrew Metcalf 1977-1981 WD / MI Jimmy Carter
Jerome Perkins 1981-1986 ND / IN Ronald Reagan
Williams Vaughn 1981-1986 ED / MO Ronald Reagan
Herbert Rutherford 1982-1985 ED / VA Ronald Reagan
Reginald Boyd 1989-1990 CA George HW Bush
Willie Gleason 1991-1994 ED / MO George HW Bush
Todd Dillard 1990-1994 George HW Bush Superior Court
Albert Moore 1990-1994 OH George HW Bush
Robert Moore 1994-2002 CD / IL William J. Clinton
John Marshal 1994-1999 ED / VA William J. Clinton
Frank Anderson 1994-2002 SD / IN William J. Clinton
GeorgeMcKinney 1994-2002 D / MD William J. Clinton
Glen Cunningham 1996-2000 D / New Jersey William J. Clinton
Ike Durr 1994-2001 SD / MS William J. Clinton
Todd Dillard 1994-2002 Superior Court / DC William J. Clinton
Floyd Kimbrough 1994-2000 ED / MO William J. Clinton
Cleveland Vaughn 1994-1996 D / NB William J. Clinton
Alan Lewis 1994-2001 ED / PA William J. Clinton
Israel Brooks 1994-2002 D / SC William J. Clinton
Norris Batiste 1994-2002 ED / TX William J. Clinton
William Edwards 1994-2001 ND / AL William J. Clinton
Herbert Brown 1994-1996 D / NV William J. Clinton
Conrad Pattillo 1994-2002 ED / AK William J. Clinton
James Lockley 1994-2002 ND / FL William J. Clinton
Herbert Rutherford 1994-2006 DC William J. Clinton
Donald Horton 1996-2002 DC William J. Clinton
Robert McMichael 1994 – 2002 ND / GA William J. Clinton
James Wigham 2000-2002 ND / IL William J. Clinton
Nehemiah Flowers2002 – Present SD / MS George W. Bush
Ronald Henderson 2002 – Present ED / MO George W. Bush
RobertGrubb 2002 – Present ED / IM George W. Bush
David Thomas 2002 – Present D / DE George W. Bush
Lafayette Collins 2004-present WD / TX George W. Bush
Jesse Seroyer 2002 – Present MD / AL George W. Bush
Duroncelex Theophile 2002-2006 ND / LA George W. Bush
John Gibbons 2010 – Present D / MA Barack H. Obama
Willie L. Richardson 2010 – Present MD / GA Barack H. Obama
Kelvin Washington 2010 – Present D / SC Barack H. Obama.
In 1875, Judge Isaac C. Parker, District Judge for the Western District of Arkansas, opened the ranks of the United States Marshals Service to African-American men. Bass Reeves, a former slave, was appointed Deputy Marshal of the United States by Judge Parker in 1875, but it was not until 1877 that an African American man was allowed to serve as a United States Marshal. That year, Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States, appointed Frederick Douglass, also a former slave, to serve as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, a position he held until 1881.
Would you think the United States of America could be safer with men like these taking care of us? I do not think so. Now “go tell it on the mountain.”
Until next time.