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Blackdom, N.M.: General Resources

Research resources for Blackdom, New Mexico

In the New Mexico State Library Collection

Cover Art Blackdom by Daniel Gibson.New Mexico Magazine, February 1986, 64, p. 46-51.

Blackdom in the Borderlands: Significance of the Afro-Frontier (1903-1929) by Dr. Timothy Nelson. El Palacio, Spring 2021


Digital Resources

Blackdom: Interpreting the Hidden History of New Mexico's Black Town a thesis by Austin J. Miller (available for download through the University of New Mexico's Digital Repository)

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.


The Significance of the Afro-Frontier in American History Blackdom, Barratry, and Bawdyhouses in the Borderlands 1900 – 1930 a thesis by Timothy E. Nelson (available from the University of Texas El Paso's digital repository)

The current narratives about Black people migrating from the South to America’s western frontier at the turn of the Twentieth Century fundamentally fail to capture the full nature of the extraordinary undertaking Black migrants endured with both great success and failure. Exoduster was a pervasive term that characterizes Black migration during the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century. The theme of Exoduster literature filtered the activities of Black people through the lens of fear. The “exodus” captured the idea that Black people migrated to escape the horrors of racist subjugation and violence indicative of Southern politics and culture. Often stories of All-Black Towns describe a promised land—one ordained by God and predetermined for the refugees. These scholarly narratives imply Black inferiority or lacking control over their fate. Narratives about frontier spaces reflect peoples’ entrepreneurship, opportunism, and grit. However, compared to the narratives focused on White frontiersmen, Black peoples within the same period and in the same spaces appear feckless side notes to the historical trajectory of history. Blackdom’s history offers the opportunity to construct a new narrative that allows for the further expansion in the study of Black People of the West with the use of a new conceptual framework. Afro-Frontierism.


I'm Really Just an American: The Archaeological Importance of the Black Towns in the American West and Late-Nineteenth Century Constructions of Blackness a thesis by Shea Aisha Winsett (available for download at William & Mary's digital repository)


Blackdom, Centennial Journeys Radio Spots (available through University of New Mexico's Digital Repository)

Two former slaves from Georgia found an African-American community in southern New Mexico.


Blackdom/Cottonwood Church: New Information by Elvis Fleming p. 28 in New Mexico Conference, United Methodist Church, May 2011 (available for download through University of New Mexico's Digital Repository)


Glimpses of Late Frontier Life in New Mexico's Southern Pecos Valley: Archaeology and History at Blackdom and Seven Rivers by Regge N. Wiseman, Museum of New Mexico, Office of Archaeological Studies, Archaeology Notes 233, 2001. (available online as a pdf)

Journal Articles

African American Homesteader “Colonies” in the Settling of the Great Plains by Jacob K. Friefeld, Mikal Brotnov Eckstrom, and Richard Edwards. Great Plains Quarterly, Volume 39, Number 1, Winter 2019, pp. 11-37. DOI:


Vado, New Mexico:  A Dream in the Desert by M. A. Walton Southern New Mexico Historical Review Volume II, No. 1, January 1995, p. 17-23.