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AfriGeneas Western Frontier Forum

Sergeant York

The first African-American to cross the continent was 'big medison' for the Corps of Discovery

During the expedition, William Clark's personal servant, York (his full name is unknown), enjoyed a degree of freedom unusual for a slave of his time. Along with other members of the corps, he hunted for game (contradicting statutes that prohibited slaves from having guns), bartered for goods and voted on where the explorers would camp for the winter. Clark named two geographical features after him, and Lewis credited him as the man who made possible the initial contact with the Shoshone Indians, whose horses the expedition needed to cross the Rockies. But first, the corps would encounter the Arikara Indians.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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