The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

Book Reviews

illiterate and educated-caught in the throes of Reconstruction" (p. 19). The
real meat of this book is found in the documents-letters, newspaper articles,
congressional testimonies and "other comments made by blacks who sensed the
importance of Reconstruction as the defining moment for their future" (p. 19).
It is here that the immense and often tragic variety of African American life in
the transition from slavery is presented in unadorned details. Subjects include
families, terror, violence, wages, the plantation system, Freedmen's Bureau edu-
cation, homeland, and the Reconstruction amendments.
Valuable as this collection is, however, it does not appear that Smith has
unearthed any new material. Most of the leaders selected were those well known
figures from the populous states of South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Virginia and Georgia. Nothing is mentioned about leaders in other ex-
Confederate states such as Texas, much less of lesser-known personalities.
While a document from each of the former confederate states would have
given students a more comprehensive view of blacks during Reconstruction, this
should not distract from a readable, well organized anthology. To be sure, the
documents in this work reveal and reaffirm the complexity and diversity of the
African American experience. Although at times the glass appears be slightly
clouded and the view refracted, these African American stories furnish a window
of the past through which scholars, students, and the general public can gain a
perspective of Reconstruction.
Texas Southern University MERLINE PITRE
African Amerzcans zn the West: A Biblzography of Secondary Sources. By Bruce A.
Glasrud. (Alpine, Texas: Center for Big Bend Studies, 1998. Pp. xiv+192.
Illustrations, preface, acknowledgments, introduction, author index. ISBN
0-9647629-3-5. $2o.oo, paper).
In the preface, Bruce Glasrud describes his concept of the West as "those
states that are at least one state removed westward from the Mississippi River" (p.
x), with some mention of studies on blacks in the Old Northwest, Canada, and
Mexico. He also suggests four schools of writing on this topic that reflected dif-
ferent chronological periods and views of history. Participants and romantic ide-
alists began the field before 1910, followed in the years up to the 196os by pio-
neering professional historians who focused on the contributions of African
Americans. More analytical studies of discrimination and black responses came
in the next two decades, followed by historians who study the wide range of
African American cultural roles and new developments in twentieth century
cities. Earlier historiographical articles are noted as well as the new general his-
tory by Quintard Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the
American West (W. W. Norton, 1998).
The introduction explains the organization of this book, which begins with a
general and bibliographical chapter. Following are seven chronological chap-
ters, each with a theme such as cowboys or soldiers. Included are discussions of
African Americans in the Spanish Southwest, explorers and traders, western

417

1999

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed September 20, 2014.