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HPPR People & Communities

A Remembrance Of Oklahoma’s Historically Black Towns

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National Park Service
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Wikimedia Commons

A little-known fact about the Sooner State: Oklahoma is home to more historically black towns than any other state. Sadly, the Great Depression devastated many of these small communities of African-Americans.

But 13 of these black towns still survive, and they provide a fascinating glimpse into how communities shaped the early days of settlement in Indian Territory.

As NBC News reports, these all-black towns were founded at the culmination of the Trail of Tears. When Native American tribes from the Southeastern part of the country were removed to Indian Territory, many of them brought their slaves with them.

Following the Civil War, these former slaves settled together and built farming communities for themselves in Oklahoma. In the half-century after the Civil War, African-Americans founded 50 such settlements in the Sooner State.