• Dennis McCaslin

FS Museum of history holding book signing with author of 2020 Cherokee Bill biography

Cherokee Bill

The Fort Smith Museum of History will host nationally renowned author Art Burton for a program and book- signing on “Cherokee Bill” on Monday, July 26 at 5:30 pm;

Cherokee Bill was every bit as colorful and outrageous as any criminal of the western frontier, perhaps even more so. There were a few things about him that made him truly unique for a famous desperado of the purple sage. First and foremost, he was an African American living in the Indian Territory, Native American, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, as a freedman, from his mother's lineage.

Compare Cherokee Bill to Billy the Kid, (Billy Antrim), of New Mexico Territory fame.

Although both outlaws received national media attention for their crimes while they were living, Billy the Kid was remembered and immortalized in books and films in the twentieth century; this did not occur for Cherokee Bill.

Art Burton's newest book will help change that.

Art. T. Burton

Art T. Burton received a B.A. and a M.A. in African American Studies from Governors State University. He retired in 2015 after spending 38 years in higher education. He was a history professor in the Chicago area, at Prairie State College and South Suburban College and worked as an administrator in African American Student Affairs at Benedictine University, Loyola University Chicago, and Columbia College Chicago.

In 1991, Burton wrote the first book on African American and Native American outlaw and lawmen in the Wild West. It is titled “Black, Red and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of the Indian Territory, 1870-1907.” In 1999, Burton wrote the first book on African Americans who were scouts and soldiers in the Wild West.

The book is titled “Black Buckskin and Blue: African American Scouts and Soldiers on the Western Frontier.”.

In 2007, Burton wrote the first scholarly biography on an African American lawman of the Wild West. This work is titled, “Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves.”

A new book "Cherokee Bill: Black Cowboy, Indian Outlaw" was released in 2020. 

Award winning author/historian Art T. Burton will give a lecture on the most notorious outlaw to come before Judge Isaac C. Parker of the Fort Smith Federal Court.

Burton will clarify issues with Cherokee Bill's genealogy, the crimes committed by Bill and his stay at the Fort Smith Federal Jail, where he was executed before the age of 20. Cherokee Bill was the most colorful outlaw of the western American frontier, however, Judge Parker called Cherokee Bill the worst outlaw to ever come before his bench in Fort Smith.

Burton will also sign copies of his new biography on Cherokee Bill.

Admission is: $7 Adults (16 and over), $5 Veterans and Military, $2, Children 12 and under, Free.

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