Independent Historian

Barbara C. Behan, M.A., is an independent researcher in Missoula, Montana. She has researched Montana’s territorial African American communities as a research fellow for the Montana Committee for the Humanities, results of which are forthcoming in the Journal of African American History. She also prepared the nomination for the listing of the Great Falls, Montana African Methodist Church on the National Register of Historic Places.

Millie Ringold (1845-1906)

Millie Ringold was a gold prospector, boarding house proprietor, and long-time resident of the Yogo mining district in the Little Belt Mountains of central Montana. According to the 1900 census, Millie Ringold—whose names are variously spelled Molly, Ringo, and Ringgold—was born a slave in 1845 in Virginia. By the 1870s she … Read MoreMillie Ringold (1845-1906)

Montana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (1921-1972)

The Montana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs was a voice for Montana’s African American community for half a century, from 1921 to 1972.  Beginning in the late 1800s, women in the American West developed clubs and societies which helped them adjust to life far from … Read MoreMontana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (1921-1972)

Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Great Falls, Montana (1890- )

The Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Great Falls, Montana, is one of the state’s oldest active churches. The African American community in Great Falls dates to the town’s beginnings.  As elsewhere in the western United States, the community came together early on for mutual benefit … Read MoreUnion Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Great Falls, Montana (1890- )

Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander Trial (1925)

The New Rochelle, New York annulment trial of Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander and his wife, Alice Jones Rhinelander, was a much-publicized issue in the 1920s which highlighted white America’s definitions of race, class, and marriage. Alice Jones was the daughter of working-class English immigrants.  Her mother … Read MoreLeonard “Kip” Rhinelander Trial (1925)