Geraldine Washington Travis (1931- )

Geraldine W. Travis is the first African American elected to the MontanaState Legislature House of Representatives.   She worked actively to promote civil rights for African Americans, women, and children, and to break down racial barriers in Montana from 1967 to 1989. Geraldine Washington Travis was born in Albany, Georgia on September 3, … Read MoreGeraldine Washington Travis (1931- )

25th Infantry Bicycle Corps (1896-97)

The 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps was a unit of black soldiers commanded by a white officer, Lt. James A. Moss, which was formed in 1896 to test the combat viability of bicycle-mounted troops by riding from Missoula, Montana to Saint Louis, Missouri. Moss, a West Point graduate and … Read More25th Infantry Bicycle Corps (1896-97)

Alma S. Jacobs (1916-1997)

Librarian Alma Smith Jacobs was the first African American to serve as the Montana State Librarian. She was a lifelong advocate of free access to library resources and was active in local and state civil rights causes. Alma Victoria Smith Jacobs was born in Lewistown, Montana on November 21, 1916. … Read MoreAlma S. Jacobs (1916-1997)

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)

The Colored Citizen, Helena, Montana (1894)

The Colored Citizen published weekly in Helena, Montana, for a little over two months during the electoral campaign season, September to November 1894. The paper proclaimed its purpose to become “the mouthpiece . . . to educate the public to a full appreciation of our [African Americans in … Read MoreThe Colored Citizen, Helena, Montana (1894)

The Montana Plaindealer, Helena, Montana (1906-1911)

On  March 16, 1906, Joseph B. Bass printed the first issue of The Montana Plaindealer in Helena, Montana, a community that included more than 400 African Americans, or about 3% of the city’s population. Bass came to Helena a veteran newspaperman, having worked on the Topeka Plaindealer in Kansas … Read MoreThe Montana Plaindealer, Helena, Montana (1906-1911)

Taylor Emmanuel Gordon (1893-1971)

Taylor Emmanuel Gordon was born in 1893 in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, one of six children of a cook and a laundress.  He is best known for his career as a singer in the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s.  After leaving Montana in 1910 for a job in Minnesota, … Read MoreTaylor Emmanuel Gordon (1893-1971)

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)

Booker T. Washington’s Visit to Spokane (1913)

In 1913 the famous African American activist and educator Booker T. Washington left Tuskegee, Alabama, to begin a speaking tour around the United States. The ultimate goal of this tour was to raise funds for the Tuskegee Institute in order to educate more young African … Read MoreBooker T. Washington’s Visit to Spokane (1913)