Laura J. Arata

Oct 1, 2020

Race and the Wild West

Sarah Bickford, the Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870–1930

University of Oklahoma Press 2020

purchase at bookshop.org After Laura Arata first visited Virginia City, Montana in graduate school, she became fascinated by the story of one historical figure—Sarah Bickford, a former slave, who migrated to this frontier, mining town in the late 1860s, and became a prominent business owner who promoted tourism at the site of a famous lynching of white “lawbreakers” by the Montana Vigilantes. In Race and the Wild West: Sarah Bickford, the Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870–1930 (University of Oklahoma Press), a fascinating work of historical recovery, Arata provides a compelling biography of Sarah Bickford and the larger story of black life in the rural West.
Ryan Driskell Tate holds a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University. @rydriskelltate

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