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Images Of Black Wyoming On Display At Ft Caspar

Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Fort Caspar Museum announces the installation of a new traveling exhibit for fall entitled Images of Black Wyoming. Organized by the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center, this exhibit features photographs and stories of African Americans who lived and worked in Wyoming. It will be on view until December 8, 2012.
Throughout history, the desire to escape prejudice and mistreatment has led people to relocate in search of a better existence. African Americans often joined in the westward movement for this reason. Laws concerning Black citizenship and land ownership were not as rigid in the West, and with fewer people, there were naturally more opportunities for everyone. From mountain men to teachers, from cowboys and ranchers to businesspeople, and from soldiers to legislators, Wyoming’s history has been enriched by many African Americans.
Casper’s own Mathew Campfield is featured in the exhibit. He is credited with being Casper’s first African American resident, its first barber, and its first elected coroner. Coincidentally, in the late 1890s, Campfield filed on a homestead located on land encompassing Fort Caspar. The City’s Mathew Campfied Park on East L Street is named in his honor.
Images of Black Wyoming was curated by University of Wyoming student Paige Emerich with a grant from the U.W. President’s Advisory Council on Minorities and Women’s Affairs, and it represents just a handful of the noteworthy stories of African Americans who have been influential in the state of Wyoming. Some only stayed for a short while and others stayed a lifetime. Some lived ordinary lives and some extraordinary ones, but they are all part of the West’s diverse and unique heritage.

On October 1st, Fort Caspar Museum begins its winter hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; closed on Sundays and Mondays. While the Museum remains open year round, the fort buildings are now locked for the season. Admission prices are reduced to $1.50 for Adults, $1.00 for Youths (ages 13—18), and FREE for children 12 & under. For information, please call 307-235-8462, or visit our website at www.fortcasparwyoming.com.

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