African American Resources for Oklahoma

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A list of resources to research African American ancestors who lived in Oklahoma.

Online Resources

Research Strategy



A few hundred black slaves had run away from their white masters and sought refuge in Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee settlements, where they were received as free people. While some Indian communities incorporated blacks as free people, American Indians in each of the nations, except the Seminole, began to purchase African Americans as slaves.

A number of Indian farmers had large tracts of land under cultivation and used enslaved laborers to produce cotton and surplus crops for sale and profit. Most Indian slave owners, however, practiced subsistence agriculture, and both slaves and masters labored side by side in the fields. By the 1830s well over three thousand African Americans, mostly slaves, lived among the tribes.

American Indians brought their slaves to the west in the 1830s and 1840s when the federal government removed the nations from the southern states. The Cherokee, with more than fifteen hundred, had the largest number. Slave populations removed with the other nations ranged from approximately three hundred in the Creek Nation to more than twelve hundred in the Chickasaw Nation. By the time the Civil War broke out more than eight thousand blacks were enslaved in Indian Territory, where they comprised 14 percent of the population. Slavery continued in the territory through the Civil War. [1]

All Black Towns of Oklahoma
More than 50 African-American towns were established between the 1865 and 1920. Many of the towns were formerly held by one of the Five Civilized Tribes.

  • Towns: Boley, Clearview, Grayson, Langston, Lincoln, Redbird, Rentiesville, Taft, Tatums, Tullahassee, Vernon and Wewoka.
  • Extinct Towns: Bailey, Bookertee, Canadian Colored, Chase, Ferguson, Gibson Station, Liberty, Marshall Town, North Fork, Wellston Colony and Wybark.

Online Resources

Books to read

  • McPherson, James M. The atlas of the Civil War. New York: Macmillan, 1994.
  • Blattner, Teresa, People of Color: Black Genealogical Records and Abstracts from Missouri Sources" (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, c1993,c 1998) At various libraries (WorldCat);FHL Book 977.8 F2bt volume 1 and 2
  • Brown, William Wells, Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave (NY, NY: Johnson Reprint, 1970) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 921.73 B815b
  • Mallory, Rudena Kramer, Claims by Missourians for compensation of enlisted slaves: records of the U.S. District Court of Kansas, Slave Compensation Records, November 3, 1866 to February 21, 1867, Record Group 21, National Archives-Central Plains Region, Kansas City, Missouri (SLC, Utah:Genealogical Society of Utah, 1992) FHL film 1597959 item 4
  • Lee, George R., Slavery North of St. Louis (Canton, Missouri: Lewis County Historical Society, Missouri, [200?]) At other libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 977.8 H6L
  • State Slavery Statues (Bethesda, Maryland: University Publications of America, c1989) FHL fiche 6118911
  • United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands and Washington Reginald, Records of the field offices for the state of Missouri, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1972: NARA, RG 105, M1908 (College Park, MD: NARA, 2004) FHL films 2426982–2427005




Census Records

Church Records

Emancipation Records

Funeral Homes


Land and Property


Oral Histories

Other Records

City Directories

  • Muskogee Oklahoma Negro Directory: includes the town of Taft (FamilySearch Catalog Film Number:1994331 Item 6)


Prison Records

  • Aylesworth State Prison Farm, 1916-1925, Marshall County, Oklahoma
    Schools "The Aylesworth State Prison Farm was an all black prison located in Marshall County and was in existence between 1916 and 1925." -- P. 1. (FamilySearch Catalog Film Number: 1838318 Item 14)

Military Records


Probate Records

Reconstruction Records

Freedman’s Bank

Freedmen's Bureau

School Records

Slavery Records

  • In the 1830s African American slavery was established in the Indian Territory, the region that would become Oklahoma. By the late eighteenth century, when over half a million Africans were enslaved in the South, the five southern Indian societies of that region Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole had come to include both enslaved blacks and small numbers of free African Americans [2]

Vital Records





Voting Registers

Archives and Libraries

The Black Archives of Mid-America, located in Kansas City, Missouri, is a center for learning and research into the African American experience in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and the Midwest at large.



  2. Oklahoma State Digital Library