Laura J. ArataOct 1, 2020
Race and the Wild West
Sarah Bickford, the Montana Vigilantes, and the Tourism of Decline, 1870–1930
University of Oklahoma Press 2020
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