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posted by Joseph Certaine on October 7th, 2009 at 12:13 PM

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Re-enactors of color must understand that most audiences are not aware of the contributions of people of color (Black, Hispanic or American Indian) to American history. In many cases , the association of people of color to American history is completely lacking or might even be seen as something  negative. Although folks may know about the Battle of the Alamo or Goliad in Texas, few people understand that the whole Southwestern region of the United States was once owned by Spain or was a part of Mexico. There were many Vaqueros (Mexican horsemen) present in the southwest (Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah ) long before the arrival of the Americans. So, it might be a difficult feat for the average person to be familiar with the role of the Vaquero in the West.

Many people are unaware of the role played by the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Chickasee, Cherokee and Seminole during the Civil War. These American Indian tribes fought in large numbers on the side of the Confederacy. Some fought for the Union but the majority supported the South and enacted treaties that included allowing for people escaping enslavement to be captured and returned to their former owners. It is a fact that some of the last Confederate units to surrender were the Cherokee regiments led by Confederate Brigadier General, . Stand Watie on June 23, 1865 

Most people are unaware of the United States Colored Troops and the role played by black soldiers in the Union Army. They are also unaware that about 20% of the U.S. Cavalry in the West during the indian Wars was black. That lack of knowledge extends to the west afer the Civil War, where roughly one of every five cowboys was black.

This makes the role of black re-enactors and living historians even more important.  It is necessary to delve into the history of the period in order to correctly portray historical characters of color accurately. The events being presented must be period authentic so that the members of the audience go away better informed than when they came.  



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