#SaturdaySchool: The Black Towns Project – Week 1 of 3

June 1, 2012

Lee and Mary Tatum Gravesite - Tatums, Oklahoma

Reposted from FunkNBeans.com:

The historically black towns of the U.S. have much to tell us about community-building and migration as resistance and empowerment. This week’s #SaturdaySchool began a series of discussions on #blacktowns which will continue over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more!

Some Black Towns resources:


#SaturdaySchool: Black Towns – Week 1 of 3

Each week @ProfRagsdale gathers loyal followers around the twitter hearth to spread knowledge, build community, and create change. (May 5, 2012)

Storified by FunkNBeans · Sun, May 06 2012 22:20:34

Join me 4 #SaturdaySchool 2day as we discuss historically #blacktowns of US 1700s-1900s – just watch the hashtags or my TLRhonda Ragsdale
My work w #blacktowns started over 10 years as undergrad at TX Woman’s Univ & continued at UNT as thesis project #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
When I 1st started studying #blacktowns I though there was very little written about their histories-I was wrong #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
What I realized about #blacktowns is just that their histories hadn’t been collected or synthesized #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
When John Boles of @JourSouHist heard about my work on #blacktowns I received invite 2 apply 2 phd at Rice #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
My PhD project is a study of 150-200 historically #blacktowns in the US, established from 1700s-1900s #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale is tweeting abt #blacktowns for #SaturdaySchool. A must read.Gena PhilibertOrtega
For the purpose of my study I identified #blacktowns w their own post office, civic govt, school & church #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
I do not believe we will ever have a comprehensive list of all the historically #blacktowns of the US #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale Great topic one of my favorite cultures Gullah… http://www.islandpacket.com/man/gullah/history.htmlBig Vel
I have encountered numerous problems trying 2 uncover the histories of #blacktowns n the US #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Many people have hidden, erased & minimized the role of #blacktowns n this country & thru out Americas #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
I’m astounded by # of scholarly sources w misinformation about #blacktowns esp about which was was 1st #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
20 diff #blacktowns must claim 2 b the 1st one but truth is we will never know bcuz of nature of maroonage #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
#blacktowns coincide w transcontinental slavery — they r a response 2 not being able 2 go home after escape #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
#blacktowns have gone by many racialized names but truth is they were always multiracial & multicultural #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale my 1st newspaper job I wrote on Tamina, TX, ex-"slave colony", streets named after freed slaves #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRussell Contreras
#blacktowns were founded w in domain of US as early as the colonial era #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Some early #blacktowns used remote locations, others crossed national boundaries 4 refuge, spaces of freedom #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@RussContreras it’s one of the #blacktowns n my project – I took this pic- can I get copy? #tamina #SaturdaySchool http://pic.twitter.com/yLfmXDerRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale that’s Tamina! Awesome! Yes but just have hard copy. Tamina was struggling to get sewer system #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRussell Contreras
@profragsdale is Clarksville in Austin part of your study?Katherine Miller
@meadowgirl Clarksville is not in my particular study bcuz I am looking at towns that had separate civic govt, post office, labor pool etcRhonda Ragsdale
@meadowgirl There r thousands of black communities I could have studied so I put some limiters on my project 2 create a particular sampleRhonda Ragsdale
@RussContreras Can u send me the citation? or some contact info so I can follow up w u on this? #prettyplease #blacktownsRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale there was also illegal dumping in Tamina, flooding cemetery ‘Sweet Rest’ & ruining headstones #SaturdaySchool #blacktownsRussell Contreras
@RussContreras Environmental racism is a problem many #blacktowns faced & still face, I spoke on this at Univ of Houston last yrRhonda Ragsdale
Founding of #blacktowns n US occurred n stages: Colonial, Antebellum, Civil War & social movement Exodusters #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
1 of 1st US #blacktowns was Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose (pronounced Moh-Say) http://www.fortmose.org/ #SatursdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Fort Mose Historic State Park http://www.floridastateparks.org/fortmose/ #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
America’s Black Colonial Fortress of Freedom http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/histarch/mose.htm #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Pre-Civil War #blacktowns n US r part of large story of maroons but also have an open social movement after war #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
During antebellum era #blacktowns were 1 of many attacks on system of slavery, part of Underground Railroad #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Native & African Americans made many non-white communities 2gether which later gained identity as #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
After Andrew Jackson began his Indian Policies & slavery took stronger hold n South more #blacktowns emerged #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
"Bucktown" in downtown Cincinnati Ohio on the Sip/Ohio River. @profragsdale Pre-Civil War #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolBlack Dove Invictus
@Black_Dove Do u know when it was established? Prior 2 establishment of Cincinnati? #blacktownsRhonda Ragsdale
Bucktown #blacktowns where @ProcterGamble HQ sits now. German & Irish used cannons, African guns on rooftops. @profragsdale #SaturdaySchoolBlack Dove Invictus
There is a difference between #blacktowns w their own govt & jobs & black communities w in or dependent on white town #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale Toni Morrison wrote her novel Paradise based upon the little known history of all Black towns (not communities) in America.Educator
@Anti_Intellect Yes — It’s amazing how many books, plays, songs, etc have been written about #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@Anti_Intellect Those towns *not communities* r basis of my PhD work, Im looking at histories of about 150 of these historically #blacktownsRhonda Ragsdale
@Anti_Intellect Many people start discussing black communities /neighborhoods when I address topic of #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale Not quite the same, and it’s important for us to draw a distinction. #BlackTowns #SaturdaySchoolEducator
@profragsdale Black towns and Black communities are two different, but very important histories. #BlackTowns #SaturdaySchoolEducator
@profragsdale Eatonville was such a Black town. Famed writer Zora Neale Hurston grew up there. Outside of Orlando. #SaturdaySchoolEducator
@Anti_Intellect Yes – it’s 1 of the 150-200 #blacktowns in my PhD studyRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale Can’t participate as much as I’d like…deadline…grt topic! Key for me is wealth base of either..#blacktowns #saturdayschoolspencer d wood
@profragsdale #blacktowns or communities. Communities I studied gained political power through land ownership. #saturdayscholspencer d wood
@profragsdale In each southern state, black landowners were pivotal to gaining toeholds on freedom… #blacktowns #saturdayschoolspencer d wood
@profragsdale equiv. of small bus in the country! Landownership creates independence from white power structure. #blacktowns #saturdayschoolspencer d wood
@profragsdale Awesome. Wishing you the best in your studies and writing.Educator
@Anti_Intellect Exactly — #blacktowns encompass a black community/ies, but not all black communities r autonomous towns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@Anti_Intellect It’s been essential 4 me 2 draw that distinction – thousands of black communities, hundreds of #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@Anti_Intellect Thank u ! #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Sandy Ground, NY-1 of many #blacktowns founded as destinations on Underground Railroad http://statenislandusa.com/pages/sandy_ground.html #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Sandy Ground Historical Society – NYC-ARTS: http://bit.ly/LfSjA1 #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Book Rec: America’s 1st Black Town: Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915: http://bit.ly/IUzb7D #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Brooklyn, Illinois Archaeology Project http://www.histarch.uiuc.edu/Brooklyn/ #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Some #blacktowns were successful & provided safety & freedom, others were forced out of existence – like Malaga #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold http://www.malagaislandmaine.org/ #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Malaga Island: An Overview of its Natural & Cultural History http://www.childrenstheatre.org/pdfs/Maine_Coast_Heritage_Trust_-_Malaga_Island_Overview.pdf #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
#SaturdaySchool brunch break — more on #blacktowns this afternoon — keep this ?s & comments coming tho!Rhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale I can imagine and understand…I am a journalist in Toronto and would love to talk with you about the project sometime.Peter Kavanagh
@kavanagh_peter Sure! I would love to! #blacktownsRhonda Ragsdale
@kavanagh_peter As u may know, there were many #blacktowns in Canada #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale have you seen noticeable diff in governance or approaches to planning in your research?….
@surlyurbanist Yes -some used mayors, councils, kings, chief – vary greatly by time, region & ethnicity of founders #blacktownsRhonda Ragsdale
@Black_Dove #Blacktowns show us the power of community as a method of resistance, uplift, social change #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@spencerdwood Yes — this community was on my original list but didn’t make it 2 the final round of #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@Black_Dove Of the 150-200 #blacktowns I studied, all placed HIGH value on education, civic duty, community uplift #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
The thing that fascinated me the most about #blacktowns is the transnationalism of it all. http://owl.li/1LJ1dA cc: @profragsdaleJaime Puente
The largest numbers of #blacktowns were established in Kansas, Oklahoma & Indian Territories from 1870-1890s #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
So many freedpeople left South after Civil War, called it exodus & Exodusters became name 4 those leaving 4 #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Many black leaders used migration & community-builidng 2 mobilize a black town social movement #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale one of my husbands #ancestors helped found that town. Even tho the town was black it was run by white guys in the beginningHeather Kramer
@HeatherKramer80 Not in VERY beginning, but shortly thereafter – yes – & it changed the whole nature of the town #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Many black leaders used migration & community-building 2 mobilize a black town social movement #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
1880 Senate Investigation of Beginnings of African American Migration from South #SaturdaySchool http://1.usa.gov/IVFyaD #blacktownsRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale interesting, will have 2 look into that. Thx! BTW, his ancestor was John R Stites. They were a colorful family.Heather Kramer
Altho women were n every stage of #blacktowns movement, 1 women’s org gained attn from govt & local media #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Women from the org wrote a scathing letter 2 Congressman Benjamin Butler n hopes he would bring their voice 2 Senate #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
The Committee of 500 Women believed they had the right 2 live n #blacktowns where they could b treated like ladies #SaturdayRhonda Ragsdale
Butler did bring Committee of 500 Women letter 2 Senate & their words brought criticism form local white paper #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Butler did bring Committee of 500 Women letter 2 Senate & their words brought criticism form local white paper #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Testimony regarding the ‘Negro Exodus’ & Committee of 500 Women http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1130.htm #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Garrett & the Committee proposed that only by leaving South could black women attain rightful status #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
The Committee of 500 Women promoted mass migration 2 #blacktowns & organized assistance w relocation #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Garrett & Committee also made pleas 2 their husbands & brothers 2 take them out of South 2 #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
The Committee of 500 Women saw migration & community-building as gendered empowerment #blacktowns #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
Feel free 2 ask me ?s about #blacktowns or about my project which is national preservation of their histories #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
I will be continuing this discussion of #blacktowns next wk 4 #SaturdaySchool as well-next wk will pick up w black town movementRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale Thanks for a great #SaturdaySchoolGena PhilibertOrtega
@profragsdale for your project about #blacktowns which towns r u focusing hour research on? #SaturdaySchoolHeather Kramer
@HeatherKramer80 my thesis work at UNT was a case study of a black town n OK – TatumsRhonda Ragsdale
@HeatherKramer80 my project is a national study of 150-200 towns from Alaska & Cali 2 OK, MS NY & many moreRhonda Ragsdale
@HeatherKramer80 I have visited several #blacktowns & did data collection on 150 of them #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale What are some resources for learning more abt the Committee of 500 women and similar women’s groups?Gena PhilibertOrtega
@genaortega primary sources need a lot of work – there is a lot out there yet 2 b written aboutRhonda Ragsdale
@genaortega Tera Hunter is a great source To ‘Joy My Freedom is a great startRhonda Ragsdale
@brownboyrocks the role of national borders n the establishment of #blacktowns is fascinating #SaturdaySchoolRhonda Ragsdale
@genaortega Here’s a great article –>> http://www.aflcio.org/About/Our-History/Key-Events-in-Labor-History/Atlanta-s-Washerwomen-Strike Atlanta Washer Women’s StrikeRhonda Ragsdale
@profragsdale Do you know about #Rosewood in Florida. Read bout it on Wikipedia!Kaylagking
@Kaylagking Yup — it has a tragic history … ;(Rhonda Ragsdale
Murfreesboro Ahoskie Como >>>> #blacktownsNitaBx
#blacktowns willa coochie georgiaSAME OL HOE
@profragsdale Thanks so much for #SaturdaySchool. Really enjoying it.Gena PhilibertOrtega
@genaortega Great — hope u will check back in later this afternoon 4 more #SaturdaySchool :)Rhonda Ragsdale

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