AfriGeneas States Research Forum
[ID] Idaho Black History Museum
Idaho Black History Museum Honors Contributions of Black Residents
BOISE, Idaho -- As the new director of the Idaho Black History Museum, Kimberly Moore's job starts with convincing people that such history actually exists.
Ask most people in or out of Idaho about the state's black history, and you're likely to get a blank look. There just aren't many black people around _ 11,000 is Moore's estimate, less than 1 percent of Idaho's 1.4 million population.
"It's interesting, when you talk to people, what they know or they think they know," said Moore, who left Detroit's Motown Historical Museum to take the position in Boise this month. "African-Americans have made a significant contribution to this state."
Black history in Idaho starts with York, the slave of William Clark who traveled through what is now northern Idaho 200 years ago with explorers Clark and Meriwether Lewis.
The museum tells the story of York and the black explorers, fur traders, gold prospectors, miners, ranchers and others who came after him. Some traveled to Idaho to find work, land or religious freedom. Others came to escape oppression in the post-Civil War South.
The museum is set in a tiny former black Baptist church. Exhibits introduce people such as Gobo Fango, a West African who was born in 1855 and adopted by white Mormons. He started a sheep ranch near Oakley