Leiker, James N., 1962-

Racial borders : Black soldiers along the Rio Grande / James N. Leiker. - 1st ed. - College Station : Texas A & M University Press, c2002. - xiv, 241 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 25 cm. - South Texas regional studies ; no. 1 . - South Texas regional studies ; no. 1. .

Includes bibliographical references (p. [221]-233) and index.

Introduction: Beyond Binary Racial Theory -- Multiracial Interaction on the Border Prior to 1870 -- Black Conquerors: The Border and the U.S. Army in the 1870s -- Crossing the River: The Social Life of the Black Regular -- African Americans and Hispanics in the Age of Imperialism -- Brownsville and Its Antecedents: Black Soldiers and Civil-Military Violence, 1899-1906 -- Race, Nationalism, and the American Punitive Expedition into Mexico -- Conclusion: The Legacies of Border Service -- Poems about the Black Regulars. Ch. 1. Ch. 2. Ch. 3. Ch. 4. Ch. 5. Ch. 6. App. 2.

When the Civil War ended, hundreds of African Americans enlisted in the U.S. Army to gain social mobility and regular paychecks. Stationed in the West prior to 1898, these black soldiers protected white communities, forced Native Americans onto government reservations, patrolled the Mexican border, and broke up labor disputes in mining areas. African American men, themselves no strangers to persecution, aided the subjugation of Indian and Hispanic peoples throughout the West. It can hardly be surprising, then, that the relations among these groups became complex and often hostile; hardly surprising, but rarely examined. Despised by the white settlers they protected, many black soldiers were sent to posts along the Texas-Mexico border, perceived to be a safe place to put them. The interactions there among blacks, whites, and Hispanics during the period leading up to the Punitive Expedition and World War I offer the opportunity to study the complicated, even paradoxical nature of American race relations. This book establishes the army's fundamental role in transforming the Rio Grande from a frontier into a border and shows how that transformation itself brought a tightening of racial and national categories. But more importantly, it warns about the dangers of simplifying history into groupings of white and non-white, oppressors and oppressed.

1585441589 (alk. paper) 9781585441587 (alk. paper)



United States. Army --African American troops--History--19th century.

African American soldiers--History--Mexican-American Border Region--19th century.
African American soldiers--History--Texas, South--19th century.
Nationalism--Social aspects--History--United States--19th century.

Mexican-American Border Region--Race relations.
Texas, South--Race relations.
United States--Relations--Mexico.
Mexico--Relations--United States.

F787 / .L45 2002