Welcome to Arkansas Freedmen!
Celebrating the Rich history of the African American population of Ft. Smith Arkansas and the nearby communities in Crawford County, and eastern Oklahoma.
This site is devoted to presenting much of the rich history documented in historical records. It is from those primary sources that long lost stories of adventure, resistance, and survival emerge.
Free people came into the community the same time as the enslaved. When the Trail of Tears migration came through, some Africans were on the same trail, some as Cherokee slaves, others as Choctaw slaves and some as Free People of color.
Some found Crawford and Sebastian counties as places of refuge from a hostile south, and others saw the region as a place from which to flee.
The Civil War impacted the lives of everyone, and those once enslaved, now free, had a new beginning, no longer impeded by bondage. Black soldiers were recruited in the City in the middle of the war, and they occupied the city in those days after the war came to an end.
Those black families formerly enslaved in Indian Territory, also found new hope as they sought solutions through the military post in Ft. Smith. Those former slaves born in Arkansas, would find new beginnings when the Freedman’s Bureau opened it’s Field office at the Old Commissary building, bringing hope and a new beginning.
As westward expansion continued Black US Deputy Marshals were part of era serving out of Judge Parker’s Court.
This site serves as a celebration of that history and seeks to tell those untold stories of a population now