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The Historicity Of Home: Anthony W. Wood And ‘Black Montana’

Anthony Wood
The Write Question
Anthony Wood

This week, historian and scholar Anthony W. Wood talks about Black Montana: Settler Colonialism and the Erosion of the Racial Frontier, 1877-1930, an in-depth account of the rise and fall of Montana’s Black communities in the 19th and 20th centuries, of the enduring narratives of white supremacy and cultural erasure in the Rocky Mountain West.

An additional note from host Lauren Korn: I’ve dedicated this episode of The Write Question the late Alan Thompson, a cultural historian whose research and oral histories of Montana’s Black communities have forever changed the way so many of us now view Western History and ideas of “the American West.” Alan was a friend of my father’s, and I have very fond memories of listening to Alan and my dad chatting on our front deck when I was a child, listening to Alan’s distinct, sweet voice and his infectious and generous laughter. May he rest in power.

About Anthony:

Anthony W. Wood is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. He worked as a historian for the Montana Historical Society on Montana’s African American Heritage Places Project.

Anthony W. Wood recommends:

In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West 1528-1990 by Quintard Taylor (W. W. Norton & Company)

White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940 by Margaret D. Jacobs (University of Nebraska Press)

Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, The Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870-1930 by Laura J. Arata (University of Oklahoma Press)

Lauren Korn recommends:

Montana’s African American Heritage Resources Project, including its oral histories conducted by Alan Thompson (Montana Historical Society)

Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, The Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870-1930 by Laura J. Arata (University of Oklahoma Press); and this conversation with Laura J. Arata and Lauren Sharma (Montana Book Festival)

Black Indian by Shonda Buchanan (Wayne State University Press)

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib (Penguin Random House)

Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Penguin Random House)

Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West by Wallace Stegner

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now the host of Montana Public Radio’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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