Cover image for Black pioneers : an untold story
Black pioneers : an untold story
Katz, William Loren.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
193 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
A biographical history of influential African American pioneers and freedom fighters in the Midwest, including Sara Jane Woodson, Peter Clark, and Dred Scott.
Introduction : The Northwest Territory -- Black pathfinders and native Americans -- War, race, and slavery in the Ohio Valley -- Pioneer farmers of the Ohio Valley -- The determination of Sarah Jane Woodson -- Peter H. Clark's Cincinnati -- A railroad's "fierce passions" -- The Malvins of Cleveland -- The fight for liberty in Indiana -- "Warfare and strife" in Illinois -- The "Order of the men of oppression" -- The Iowa of Alexander Clark -- Wisconsin battles "The heel of oppression" -- The Greys of Minnisota -- From Missouri to Kansas : the odyssey of Henry Clay Bruce -- From "alien and stranger" to U.S. Army officer.
Reading Level:
1170 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 9.4 8.0 29953.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.8 12 Quiz: 20358 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185.915 .K38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E185.915 .K38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E185.915 .K38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

On Order



Out of a past little noted in history texts comes this tale of African American pioneers in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. These pathfinders were slaves, poets, runaways, missionaries, farmers, teachers, and soldiers. For these African Americans, the frontier meant freedom, and from the earliest times, some seized liberty by joining Indian nations.As Southern slaveholders tried to pass laws to make slavery legal in the West and territorial legislatures wrote "Black Laws" that limited basic rights to white settlers, African American pioneers became freedom fighters. From Ohio to Kansas they battled slavehunters and developed Underground Railroad stations. Black families built their own schools and churches and created unique forms of protest to ensure their advancement.Historian William Loren Katz reveals a frontier saga that has often been buried, glossed over, or lost.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Freed in Virginia, self-taught John Malvin journeyed eagerly to Ohio in the early 1800s, only to find, as he put it, "every door closed against the colored man in a free state, excepting the jails and penitentiaries." Like other areas in the Northwest Territory, Ohio enacted "Black Laws" that so severely limited the freedoms and opportunities of black citizens that a prohibition on slavery was almost unnecessary. Katz tells of the many brave, determined African American settlers who carved a new life for themselves on the frontier in the pre^-Civil War days. John and Mary Jones of Chicago ran a prosperous tailoring business and played an active role in the Underground Railroad. Kentucky slave Henry Bibb escaped to Canada but returned to the states as a major antislavery activist. Many others, few of them well known, carried on similar activities; Katz's well-researched narrative tells their stories. An excellent source for reports and a rich supplement to the U.S. history curriculum. Bibliography; end notes; plentiful black-and-white photos. --Anne O'Malley

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-9-In a clear, straightforward style, Katz describes the settlement of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys (covering Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri) by African Americans seeking freedom, including biographical sketches of men and women who formed churches, started schools, or were politically active in their region. Some of these settlers were fugitive slaves; several set up stations on the Underground Railroad with the aid of the Quakers; others were farmers, poets, and soldiers. In several states, they helped form black regiments in the Civil War. Chronologically arranged, the book introduces many lesser-known personages not found in most collective biographies and places them in a broader context of U.S. history as a whole. Students or teachers might want to use this title as a starting point for further research. Bureau of Census figures are appended to each chapter and the book contains extensive endnotes and a lengthy bibliography. Well-chosen black-and-white illustrations and reproductions from the 1800s round out this readable and well-documented presentation.-Debbie Feulner, Northwest Middle School, Greensboro, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.