The Ramifications of Dark Complected Lawmen

Ellena Arroyo

“The Old West” was bursting with folks of Colour. American History has neglected and/or deleted many contributions, records, and lifestyles of Black African-Indian People. Slavery and indentured service was at the forefront of African-American adventures and sufferance.

The Old West like many regions of our country, had its share of the criminal element, be it Black, White, Red, or Brown. Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and gangs like the Daltons roamed and raided the plains, homesteads, and towns of western civilization. Cherokee Bill was one such person. Frank and his brother Jesse James were likened to medieval heroes like Robin Hood on occasions. Columbus is continuously celebrated as a hero. The invasion of 1492 is heralded as the great American discovery. It doesn’t matter if he sailed to an occupied land with three ships filled with criminals. It is called the discovery of a new land and it shall be called America. The invading forces came to make their fortunes and wealth at the expense of non-whites. They set all the legal and economic rules of the game. Seizing land and supporting and importing slavery. This practice was legal. To oppose it was illegal. These folks who took and/or destroyed everything were hailed as explorers and pioneer heroes. They were identified as law-abiding citizens. People who were forced to live by means other than theirs, primarily dark people, were considered outlaws.

Cherokee Bill, Dick Glass, and the young Rufus Buck Gang arrived “at a moment of deep political frustration for their kin, Black Cherokees and Creeks.” William L. Katz and others have documented this fact. Historical documentation recorded criminals pouring into the West from the North, South, East, and West of the country. The folks residing there called their soil “The Land of the Six Shooter.”

Lawmen also emerged to quell the practicing outlaw activity. Judge Isaac Parker, a white man, remonstrated his intent on outlaw activity. Parker vowed to set asunder, with sardonic foment, the temeritous and recalcitrant presence of outlaws. The “Hanging Judge” hired two hundred Deputy Marshals when he arrived at Fort Smith in 1875. He didn’t care what color or race his recruits were. He appeared to be colorblind in his battle against the criminal element. At about five hundred dollars (or less) a year, Deputy Marshals of dark complected skin could also earn money by collecting bounties. Men like Bill Colbert, Bob Fortune, Neely Factor, John Garrett, John “J.J.” Joss, Robert “Bob” Love, Eugene Walker, Ike Rogers, Grant Johnson, Morgan Tucker, Dick Roebuck, the legendary and obstinately intrepid Bass Reaves became Deputy Marshals under Judge Parker. 1907 saw Reaves’ departure from the judge and Fort Smith. Katz recorded Brother Reaves as having spent thirty-seven years of his life enforcing law. According to his book, “Black Indians,” he stated during Reaves’ tenure of law enforcement, only one man, Hellubee Smith, ever slipped the nets he cast.

Recorded American history has not been kind to the lawman exploits of Afro-Native American Men. A friend of mine, Mr. Robert Moore, offered enlightenment with his new book, “The President’s Men: Black United States Marshals in America,” will be available November 1, 2010. These esteemed dark complected U.S. Marshals managed, to somehow, escape recognition and inclusion into the deprecatingly, inextricable, canted, and non-sequitur listing of the “Marshal Service History Book records. Now I wonder why? Don’t you?

Robert Moore, a retired United States Marshal appointed by President Clinton in 1994, is one of 62 black men in America who have been appointed to the position of United States Marshal by only nine Presidents. Frederick Douglass was the first Black Marshal. His struggle began 117 years after Marshal Douglass’ appointment. The 62 Prestigious Black Men who were recommended by United States Senators to nine Presidents, went through extensive FBI Back Ground Checks, were nominated by Presidents, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and appointed by the President to manage a Judicial District – the names and accomplishments of these great men were omitted from the Marshal Service History Book.

Frederick Douglass was the first Black United States Marshal, appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes. It would be 85 years before President Kennedy would appoint the next Black Marshal, Assistant United State Attorney Luke Moore. Marshal Luke Moore would later in October of 1962 be designated to supervise the 127-man detail that protected James Meredith when he integrated the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). His involvement in the integration of OLE Miss was never mentioned. John Marshall the youngest son of Thurgood Marshall who became the first African American to be appointed Director of the agency. President Clinton appointed him.

Mr. Robert Moore states “Black Presidential appointed Marshals and Deputy Marshals since 1875 and 1877”, “The President’s Men”, “Black Marshals in America”, “Members of America ‘s Most Prominent and Elite Black Families” – (Fredrick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall Families) have been appointed by President’s as first Black Marshals since 1877 and Director 1999 Respectively.

United States Senators recommended these Prestigious Black Men to nine Presidents:

Frederick Douglass1877-1881 DC Rutherford B. Hayes

Luke Moore1962-1967 DC John F. Kennedy

Marvin Washington1969-1973 WD/WI Richard M. Nixon

Benjamin Butler1969-1974 ED/NY Richard M. Nixon

George McKinney1973-1977 DC Richard M. Nixon

Arthur Wilson1975-1977 ED/IL Gerald Ford

Andrew Chisholm1977-1979 D/SC Jimmy Carter

Frank Anderson1978-1981 SD/AL Jimmy Carter

Tyree Richburg1978-1981 MD/AL Jimmy Carter

Glen Robinson1978-1990 ND/CA Jimmy Carter

Kernan Bagley1978-1981 D/OR Jimmy Carter

Lee Limbs1977-1981 AZ Jimmy Carter

Franklin Payne1977-1981 ED/MO Jimmy Carter

Rufus Lewis1977-1981 MD/AL Jimmy Carter

Jerome Bullock1977-1981 DC Jimmy Carter

James Byrd1977 – 1981 D/WY Jimmy Carter

Harry Marshal1977-1982 SD/IL Jimmy Carter

Thaddeus Coney1977-1982 SD/TX Jimmy Carter

Howard Turner1977-1981 WD/PA Jimmy Carter

Willie Turner1977-1981 WD/TN Jimmy Carter

Andrew Metcalf1977-1981 WD/MI Jimmy Carter

Jerome Perkins1981-1986 ND/IN Ronald Reagan

Williams Vaughn1981-1986 ED/MO Ronald Reagan

Herbert Rutherford1982-1985 ED/VA Ronald Reagan

Reginald Boyd1989-1990 CA George H.W. Bush

Willie Gleason1991-1994 ED/MO George H.W. Bush

Todd Dillard1990-1994 Superior Court George H.W. Bush

Albert Moore1990-1994 OH George H.W. Bush

Robert Moore1994-2002 CD/IL William J. Clinton

John Marshal1994-1999 ED/VA William J. Clinton

Frank Anderson1994-2002 SD/IN William J. Clinton

GeorgeMcKinney 1994-2002 D/MD William J. Clinton

Glen Cunningham1996-2000 D/NJ William J. Clinton

Ike Durr1994-2001 SD/MS William J. Clinton

Todd Dillard1994-2002 Superior Court/DC William J. Clinton

Floyd Kimbrough1994-2000 ED/MO William J. Clinton

Cleveland Vaughn1994-1996 D/NB William J. Clinton

Alan Lewis1994 -2001 ED/PA William J. Clinton

Israel Brooks1994-2002 D/SC William J. Clinton

Norris Batiste1994 -2002 ED/TX William J. Clinton

William Edwards1994-2001 ND/AL William J. Clinton

Herbert Brown1994 -1996 D/NV William J. Clinton

ConradPattillo 1994-2002 ED/AK William J. Clinton

James Lockley1994 – 2002 ND/FL William J. Clinton

Herbert Rutherford1994-2006 DC William J. Clinton

Donald Horton1996-2002 DC William J. Clinton

Robert McMichael1994 – 2002 ND/GA William J. Clinton

James Wigham2000-2002 ND/IL William J. Clinton

Nehemiah Flowers2002 – Present SD/MS George W. Bush

Ronald Henderson2002 – Present ED/MO George W. Bush

RobertGrubb 2002 – Present ED/MI George W. Bush

David Thomas2002 – Present D/DE George W. Bush

Lafayette Collins2004 – Present WD/TX George W. Bush

Jesse Seroyer2002 – Present MD/AL George W. Bush

Duroncelex Theophile2002 – 2006 ND/LA George W. Bush

John Gibbons2010 – Present D/MA Barack H. Obama

Willie L. Richardson2010 – Present MD/GA Barack H. Obama

Kelvin Washington2010 – Present D/SC Barack H. Obama.

In 1875, the ranks of the United States Marshals Service were open to African American men by Judge Isaac C. Parker, a district judge for the Western District of Arkansas. Bass Reeves, a former slave, was appointed as a Deputy U.S. Marshal by Judge Parker in 1875, but it wasn’t until 1877 that an African American man was allowed to serve as a United States Marshal. That year, Rutherford B. Hayes, the nineteenth President of the United States, appointed Frederick Douglass, also a former slave, to serve in the position of The United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, a position he held until 1881.

Would you think that the United States of America could be any safer with men such as these watching over us? I think not. Now “go tell in on the mountain.”

Til Next time.

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