People often believe
the history of Black Americans and the struggle for
equality took place only “back east,” or in the south.
Our purpose here is to share the stories and experiences
of westward immigrants whose pioneer spirit, by necessity,
had to extend beyond the settling of the frontier.
The U.S. Census of 1870 lists 'Blacks - 27' in Arizona
Territory. A century and a quarter later, they still
comprise only about five percent of the population.
Owing, perhaps, to these small numbers, the history
of African Americans in the southwest is the least known
and least told of any group.
The facts are that there were Black cowboys, ranchers,
farmers, editors, merchants, soldiers, gun-slingers,
athletes, artists, and politicians. The program also
examines the significant historical role of the 'black
Of particular interest is the Territorial legislature’s
actions segregating schools and outlawing inter-racial
marriage. Included are a variety of individuals who
relate their difficult and sometimes violent experiences
in early times. Also recounted are the activities in
Arizona during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Listen for the music of the choir from the First Institutional