Black Gun, Silver Star
The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves
Art T. Burton
In The Story of Oklahoma, Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves appears as the "most feared U.S. marshal in the Indian country." That Reeves was also an African American who had spent his early life enslaved in Arkansas and Texas made his accomplishments all the more remarkable. Black Gun, Silver Star sifts through fact and legend to discover the truth about one of the most outstanding peace officers in late nineteenth-century America—and perhaps the greatest lawman of the Wild West era. Bucking the odds ("I'm sorry, we didn't keep Black people's history," a clerk at one of Oklahoma's local historical societies answered one query), Art T. Burton traces Reeves from his days of slavery to his Civil War soldiering to his career as a deputy U.S. marshal out of Fort Smith, Arkansas, when he worked under "Hanging Judge" Isaac C. Parker. Fluent in Creek and other regional Native languages, physically powerful, skilled with firearms, and a master of disguise, Reeves was exceptionally adept at apprehending fugitives and outlaws and his exploits were legendary in Oklahoma and Arkansas. In this new edition Burton traces Reeves's presence in the national media of his day as well as his growing modern presence in popular media such as television, movies, comics, and video games.
Art T. Burton is a retired professor of history at South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois. He is the author of Black, Buckskin, and Blue: African American Scouts and Soldiers on the Western Frontier and Black, Red, and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of the Indian Territory, 1870?1907. ?
"As Burton traces Reeves' exploits through oral accounts, records of court proceedings and scraps of correspondence, his fascination with the subject helps to maintain a vigorous pace and ultimately makes Black Gun, Silver Star an eye-opening study of justice and race in the Old West."?Nick Smith, The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
"Art Burton has resurrected a heroic Black U. S. Deputy Marshal that thieves and outlaws in the Indian Territory could not kill but was practically eliminated by scholars of frontier history."?Bruce T. Fisher, curator of African American History, Oklahoma Historical Society
"Art Burton's extensive research for Black Gun, Silver Star fleshes out the fascinating life story and exploits of a former slave who became one of the most famous lawmen in the Indian Territory days of 'Hanging Judge' Isaac Parker."?William Black, Superintendent Fort Smith National Historic Site