Early African American Settlements in New Mexico

Blackdom, Chaves County, New Mexico
This small town settlement was officially established on December 5, 1911. It covered about forty acres with 166 lots for houses. This was an incorporated town site that lay within a broader area called Blackdom community. This community was composed of farms, and homesteads by African American families covering several square miles. The town was settled by Frank and Ella Boyer and Daniel Keyes, who wanted to establish a self-sufficient settlement for African-American settlers.

Blackdom was officially incorporated on December 5, 1911. A post office existed in Blackdom from 1913 to 1920, but declining water resources and drought forced the settlers to abandon the town, with many families moving to Vado, New Mexico. Only remnants remain of the town of Blackdom. Submitted by Charles Barnum

Camp Furlong, Columbus, Luna County, New Mexico
“Camp Furlong and Columbus became the supply base of this operation and bore witness to the birth of the motorization of the U.S. Army as the American horse soldiers were replaced by trucks and airplanes. Located in the northern portion of the Pancho Villa State Park in Luna County, New Mexico, not far from the intersection of New Mexico State Highways 11 and 9, Camp Furlong Recreational Hall is a single framed rectangular weatherboard building with a tin gabled roof. Over the years, the Recreation Hall has seen several different uses, but has maintained its historical integrity and continues to be an essential part of the Columbus’ community. Pictures from the time of the Punitive Expedition show this structure. During the 1930s the building served as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) barracks. The U.S. Immigration Office later used the building until 1956. At the time of the original 1975 survey for the National Register of Historical Places, the building stood abandoned and rapidly deteriorating. Through a series of renovations in the 1980s, the Camp Furlong Recreation Hall is currently in good condition and functioning as a meeting hall for the town.”

The 1920 Federal census lists 3,225 African America soldiers in or near Camp Furlong. This represents a huge number since that same area today has less than 500 residents.

1920 Federal Census
Public History Home Page, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Camp Furlong and Columbus, New Mexico, 1916
Submitted by Charles Barnum

Fort Wingate, Bernalillo County.
The 1900 Federal census enumerated Fort Wingate Military installation. The Ninth Regiment, Cavalry listed a large number of African American soldiers. This is a valuable genealogical record for it showed the soldier’s name, place of birth, his prior residence, his rank, month and year of birth, his ability to read and write, and his parent’s birth places. On other pages were lists of wives. His family was not listed on the military enumeration, but with some detective work his family or relatives might be found on the civilian pages. Fort Wingate was an important military facility in New Mexican history. Submitted by Charles Barnum

6/1/1923 Corona Maverick newspaper Lincoln Co NM
African Americans – (6/1/1923) “Three wagon loads of Negroes passed through Corona Friday en route from Oklahoma to El Paso, Texas. Negroes being about as scarce as the proverbial hens teeth in this section of New Mexico the little cavalcade attracted quite a bit of attention.

04/30/63 Silver City Dailey Press Grant County
JACKSON: D. L. (Dave). Jackson the unofficial caretaker of the ghost town of White Oaks (Lincoln County) has suffered a stroke and is in poor condition at the Carrizozo hospital. A hospital spokesman said the 91-year-old Negro was admitted to the hospital April 19 and doesn’t recognize anyone. Jackson once was part owner of one of the richest mines, which caused the growth of White Oaks. Since the mines played out, he remained at the town, looking after cemetery and acting as the unofficial historian.
Submitted by Janet Wasson

07/18/46 Carithers Anderson ENT Enterprise newspaper Grant County
Anderson Carrithers, colored, veteran of World War I, died in Fort Bayard Veterans hospital Saturday, of a gunshot wound, allegedly self inflicted. Carrithers had been despondent due to Ill-health and is believed to have shot himself at his home in Central, where he lived with his wife. Submitted by C. W. Barnum

06/20/46 Duvall Gertrude Wright ENT Enterprise newspaper Grant County
Mrs. Gertrude Wright Duvall, a colored resident, well known in Silver City where she had lived for 31 years, died after a brief illness, Sunday, in Silver City General hospital. She was born in Virginia and had been employed here for many year as a cook and housekeeper. Awaiting the arrival of relatives, funeral arrangements are pending at the Cox mortuary. Submitted by C. W. Barnum

Vado, Spanish for “ford,” has an unusually diverse past. It was first platted in Doña Ana County in 1928, though it existed as a community decades before that. Mexicans lived in the area before the Gadsden Purchase in 1854, according to a history written by Isaiah Montoya, a chronicler of the town. Following the Civil War, black settlers moved to the site. A family named Herron began a broom factory, and in 1886, the town came to be known as Herron. Quakers migrated to the area in 1888 from Ohio and Illinois, and the community’s name changed until 1912 to Earlham. After that, the town was renamed again, this time to Center Valley. A black couple, Frances and Ella Boyer, from near Roswell moved to Vado in 1920, helping to establish it as a predominantly African American settlement.
Submitted by Marcena Thompson

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