History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-12-2018

Abstract

This master’s thesis recovers the history of Blackdom, New Mexico. Founded by an African American family from Georgia, Blackdom is a ghost town that existed in the early decades of the twentieth century near Roswell, New Mexico. Blackdom was initially imagined as both a refuge from the hostilities of Jim Crow society and as a for-profit enterprise. Entanglement in land-fraud scandals hindered the town’s early development, but Blackdom eventually grew to nearly three hundred residents, with its own school, Baptist church, post office, and general store. Blackdom settlers practiced a variety of agricultural methods, including dry farming and irrigation from shallow wells, but drought eventually doomed this unique community. This study engages Blackdom’s history through three distinct lenses: community, race, and environment. It explores how Blackdom was envisioned and created, discusses the role of race in both internal and external perceptions of the community, examines the volatile environment of the Pecos Valley that contributed to Blackdom’s collapse, and connects this hidden history to memorial attempts that emerged nearly a century after Blackdom was established.

Level of Degree

Masters

Degree Name

History

Department Name

History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Samuel Truett

Second Committee Member

Robert Jefferson

Third Committee Member

Durwood Ball

Language

English

Keywords

Blackdom, Black Towns, New Mexico, Roswell, Environment, Community, Race, Memorial, Pecos Valley

Project Sponsors

New Mexico Office of the State Historian; UNM Center for Regional Studies

Document Type

Thesis

Available for download on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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