Wyoming: Equality State?: Diversity Issues in the State's Early History


I. Wyoming's "European minorities"

        a. "Peopling the High Plains: Wyoming's European Heritage"

                i. "company towns" of Carbon, Sunrise, Cambria, Sheridan County coal towns, Rock Springs

                ii. immigrant experience in community life

        b. "Americanization" and efforts to control immigration (see article in Readings in Wyoming History)

        c.  Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard's role as teacher and leading spokesman for "Americanization" (see Van Nuys article in Readings)

        d. immigration issues in the early 20th century (see Carl Hallberg's article in Readings)

II. African Americans in Wyoming

            a. Jim Beckwourth, Janisse, and other early explorers

b. W. J. Hardin, first Black elected to Wyoming legislature (1878)

            c. Barney Ford and the Interocean Hotel, Cheyenne




















Fort Robinson, Neb., soldiers of the 10th Infantry, an all-Black U. S. Army unit stationed throughout the West. (Photo from family collection)


d. "Buffalo Soldiers"--military units stationed at Western forts

        i. many "Buffalo Soldier" units stationed at Fort D. A. Russell (Fort Warren)

        ii. Buffalo Soldiers were among those stationed at Fort McKinney during Johnson County War

        iii. some units, earlier in the 1880s, were sent by the government to remove fences of ranchers who had illegally fenced federal land

III. Asian Americans in Wyoming

            a. 19th century miners, railroad workers

            b. many became businessmen along the Union Pacific line, operating restaurants, other businesses

            c. Chinese built Joss house at Evanston, celebrated Chinese holidays there and elsewhere along UP route

            d. Rock Springs massacre (see earlier lecture)

            e. federal laws on exclusion of Asians from immigration to America

            f. Heart Mountain Relocation Center (World War II-era temporary camp in Park County, to be discussed later)

IV. Hispanic Americans in Wyoming: Three Waves

            a. original earliest residents: many worked at Fort Laramie and in the fur trade

                    i. example is Louis Vasquez, Jim Bridger's business partner at Fort Bridger

                    ii. Fort Bridger established in Mexican territory in early 1840s--Bridger filed land claim with Mexican authorities

            b. moving from New Mexico: railroads, cowboys, sheepherders

            c. sugar beet workers recruited directly from Mexico (the Redwine article in Readings)

            d. World War II-era "bracero program"

V. Religious minorities in Wyoming history

            a. Jews

                        i. Huntley colony (Goshen County), approximately 50 Jewish families settled to farm

                        ii. Irma Flat (Park County)

                        iii. Max Meyer and the "ten-gallon hat"

                        iv. Simon Durlacher, pioneer Laramie merchant

            b. Mormons

                        i. southwestern Wyoming (Bridger Valley)

                        ii. Star Valley

                        iii. northern Big Horn Basin (Byron, Cowley, Lovell)

            c. Ku Klux Klan activities in Wyoming (1920s)

                        i. in Wyoming, most violent Klan acts were directed at Catholics and other religious minorities

                        ii. less Klan presence in Wyoming than in neighboring states (in Colorado, Klan helped elect mayor of Denver)

                        iii. Klan groups active in Wheatland, Rock Springs, but few elsewhere in Wyoming

VI.  Native Americans and the contradictions of federal Indian policy

            a. treaty period

                        i. Fort Laramie treaties (1851, 1866, 1868)

                        ii. Fort Bridger treaties (1863, 1866)

            b. reservation period

            c. Dawes Act (General Allotment Act), 1887 and the policy of assimilation

            d. Burke Act

            e. Indian Reorganization Act (1934)

            f. "termination" policy (1953-1970)

            g. Chief Washakie, second Wyomingite honored with a statue in the U. S. Capitol's Statuary Hall



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