“The Old West” was packed with people of color. American history has neglected and/or eliminated many Black African Indian contributions, records, and lifestyles. Slavery and indentured 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, be it 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 once loved by 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 he sailed to an occupied land with three ships full of criminals. It is called the discovery of a new land and it will be called America. The invading forces came to make their fortunes and riches at the expense of non-whites. They establish all the legal and economic rules of the game. Land appropriation and support and importation of slavery. This practice was legal. Opposing was illegal. These people who took and/or destroyed everything were hailed as pioneer explorers and heroes. They were identified as law-abiding citizens. People who were forced to live by means other than their own, mainly obscure 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 criminals arriving in the West from the North, South, East, and West of the country. The people who resided there called their soil “The land of the Six Shooter”.
Law enforcement officers also emerged to quell the practice of illegal activities. Judge Isaac Parker, a white male, proved the intent of illegal activity from him. Parker promised to tear apart, with sardonic encouragement, the reckless and recalcitrant presence of the outlaws. The “Gallows Judge” hired two hundred deputy sheriffs when he arrived at Fort Smith in 1875. He didn’t care what color or race his recruits were. He seemed to be colorblind in his battle against the criminal element. For about five hundred dollars (or less) a year, dark-complexioned deputy sheriffs could also earn money by collecting bounties. 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 doggedly fearless Bass Reaves became in deputies. Bailiffs 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 that during Reaves’ tenure in law enforcement, only one man, Hellubee Smith, slipped the nets he cast.
Recorded American history has not been kind to the exploits of African-American Native American men. A friend of mine, Mr. Robert Moore, offered 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-complexioned U.S. Marshals succeeded, somehow escape recognition and inclusion in the contemptuous, inextricable, sung, and non-sequitur list of the “Marshals Service History Book” records. Now I wonder why. You are not?
Robert Moore, a retired United States Marshal appointed by President Clinton in 1994, is one of 62 black men in America who have been appointed to the office of United States Marshal by just nine presidents. Frederick Douglass was the first Black Marshal. His 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, Nominated by Presidents, Approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Confirmed by the United States Senate and appointed by the President to administer a Judicial District: the names and achievements of these great men were omitted from the History Book of the Marshals Service.
Frederick Douglass was the first black US Marshal, appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes. It would be 85 years before President Kennedy appointed the next Black Marshal, Assistant US Attorney Luke Moore. Marshal Luke Moore would later, in October 1962, be appointed to oversee the 127-man detail that protected James Meredith when he attended the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). His involvement in the OLE Miss integration was never mentioned. John Marshall, the youngest son of Thurgood Marshall, who became the first African-American to be named head of the agency. President Clinton appointed him.
Mr. Robert Moore states “Black Presidentially Appointed Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs from 1875 and 1877”, “The President’s Men”, “Black Sheriffs in America”, “Members of America’s Most Prominent and Elite Black Families States” – (Fredrick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall Families) have been appointed by the President as the first Black Marshals since 1877 and Director 1999 respectively.
United States Senators recommended these Prestigious Black Men to nine Presidents:
Frederick Douglass1877-1881 A.D. Rutherford B. Hayes
Luke Moore1962-1967 A.D. John F Kennedy
Marvin Washington1969-1973 WD/WI Richard M. Nixon
Benjamin Butler1969-1974 ED/NY Richard M. Nixon
George McKinney 1973-1977 DC Richard M. Nixon
Arthur Wilson1975-1977 ED/IL Gerald Ford
Andrew Chisholm 1977-1979 D/SC Jimmy Carter
Frank Anderson1978-1981 SD/AL Jimmy Carter
Tyree Richburg1978-1981 MD/AL Jimmy Carter
Glen Robinson1978-1990 NA/CA Jimmy Carter
Kernan Bagley1978-1981 D/O Jimmy Carter
Lee Limbs 1977-1981 AZ Jimmy Carter
Franklin Payne 1977-1981 ED/MO Jimmy Carter
Rufus Lewis1977-1981 MD/AL Jimmy Carter
Jerome Bullock 1977-1981 DC Jimmy Carter
James Byrd1977 – 1981 D/WY Jimmy Carter
Harry Marshal1977-1982 SD/IL Jimmy Carter
Thaddeus Coney1977-1982 SD/TXJimmy Carter
Howard Turner1977-1981 WD/PA Jimmy Carter
Willie Turner 1977-1981 WD/TN Jimmy Carter
Andrew Metcalf1977-1981 WD/MI Jimmy Carter
Jerome Perkins1981-1986 ND/EN Ronald Reagan
Williams Vaughn1981-1986 ED/MO Ronald Reagan
Herbert Rutherford1982-1985 ED/VA Ronald Reagan
Reginald Boyd1989-1990 CA George HW Bush
Willie Gleason1991-1994 ED/MO George HW Bush
Todd Dillard1990-1994 Superior Court George HW Bush
Albert Moore1990-1994OH George HW Bush
Robert Moore1994-2002 CD/IL William J. Clinton
John Marshal1994-1999 ED/VA William J. Clinton
Frank Anderson1994-2002 SD/IN William J. Clinton
George McKinney 1994-2002 D/MD William J. Clinton
Glen Cunningham 1996-2000 D/NJ William J. Clinton
Ike Durr1994-2001 SD/MS William J. Clinton
Todd Dillard1994-2002 Superior Court/DC William J. Clinton
Floyd Kimbrough1994-2000 ED/MO William J. Clinton
Cleveland Vaughn1994-1996 D/NB William J. Clinton
Alan Lewis1994 -2001 ED/PA William J. Clinton
Israel Brooks1994-2002 D/SC William J. Clinton
Norris Batiste1994 -2002 ED/TX William J. Clinton
William Edwards1994-2001 ND/AL William J. Clinton
Herbert Brown1994 -1996 D/NV William J. Clinton
Conrad Pattillo 1994-2002 ED/AK William J. Clinton
James Lockley1994 – 2002 ND/FL William J. Clinton
Herbert Rutherford1994-2006 AD William J. Clinton
Donald Horton1996-2002 AD William J. Clinton
Robert McMichael1994 – 2002 N/A William J. Clinton
James Wigham 2000-2002 N/A William J. Clinton
Flowers of Nehemiah2002 – Present SD/MS George W. Bush
Ronald Henderson2002 – Present ED/MO George W. Bush
Robert Grubb 2002 – Present ED/MI George W. Bush
David Thomas2002 – Present D/DE George W. Bush
Lafayette Collins2004 – Present WD/TX George W. Bush
Jesse Seroyer2002 – Present MD/AL George W. Bush
Duroncelex Theophile2002 – 2006 ND/LA George W. Bush
John Gibbons2010 – Present D/MA Barack H. Obama
Willie L. Richardson2010 – Present MD/GA Barack H. Obama
Kelvin Washington2010 – Present D/SC Barack H. Obama.
In 1875, Judge Isaac C. Parker, a 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 US Marshal by Judge Parker in 1875, but it wasn’t until 1877 that an African-American man was allowed to serve as US 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 believe that the United States of America could be safer with men like these watching over us? I do not think so. Now “go tell the mountain.”
Until next time.