Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Honoring Oklahoma Freedmen: Black History from Indian Territory



Basic Genealogy & History For Choctaw & Chickasaw Freedmen

In 1906, the year before Oklahoma Statehood, the population of citizens from Indian Territory was published. These were individuals who had been present from the 1830s onward. Among the Five Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminoles) were several thousand blacks the eldest of whom had been brought to the Territory as slaves within those tribes. Their children and grandchildren lived within those nations until statehood, and were thoroughly documented over the decades from the Trail of Tears, to statehood in 1907.

Their story is often omitted when Oklahoma Black history is mentioned, often overtaken by stories of the Black Towns, the Tulsa Massacre, and the Civil Rights era. However, each day during February, a video will be posted here, honoring the 20,000 documented Freedmen of the Five Tribes. 

For reference, their numbers are being shared here.

Indian Tribal Freedmen Population in 1906:
Cherokee Freedmen 3982
Choctaw Freedmen 5254
Chickasaw Freedmen 4995
Creek Freedmen 5585
Seminole Freedmen 857 (+93 children born later)

                                  Total number of Freedmen from Indian Territory: 20, 766 

(Source of data: Muskogee Cimeter, Muskogee, I. T. January 4, 1906 p. 2)

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