Hercules Washington (Enslaved Cook of George Washington) (ca. 1755-?)

Hercules Washington was the enslaved head cook at George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation home where he prepared meals for decades for the Washington family and the guests who visit the mansion. Hercules was most likely born in 1755 somewhere in Virginia although the exact place … Read MoreHercules Washington (Enslaved Cook of George Washington) (ca. 1755-?)

Ladies’ Refugee Aid Society (1864)

The Ladies Refugee Aid Society of Kansas was founded in 1864 by black freedwomen in Lawrence. It was the first black women’s club in the West, preceding the Kansas Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (a larger amalgamation of various state women’s societies). LRAS was a … Read MoreLadies’ Refugee Aid Society (1864)

Indian Severalty (The Dawes and Curtis Acts) and Black Indian Freedmen

In the late nineteenth century, black Indian freedmen were uniquely affected by the Indian Severalty Acts. Black freedmen had lived in the Indian Territory since before the Civil War, with many having originally come as slaves. While the severalty acts were primarily a legislative effort … Read MoreIndian Severalty (The Dawes and Curtis Acts) and Black Indian Freedmen

The Robert Nero Controversy (1983- )

The Robert Nero controversy refers to a late 20th Century case involving the issue of Indian identity among Cherokee Freedmen, the blacks who culturally identify with the Cherokee Nation.  The controversy began with a legal class action lawsuit brought before the U.S. District Court in … Read MoreThe Robert Nero Controversy (1983- )