Black Emigrants Noted in Diaries

The presence of black emigrants who traveled west before the Civil War was an oddity occasionally noted in emigrants’ diaries. Anna Maria Goodell, for example, commented in 1854, “There is a darkey in the company.” She added that he encountered the same troubles all the other emigrants experienced when, “He got his cattle in a mud hole and had a fine time getting them out.” Another diarist in the train wrote later that, “The darkies had a dance.”