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Black Gun, Silver Star

The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves

Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves appears as one of “eight notable Oklahomans,” the “most feared U.S. marshal in the Indian country.” That Reeves was also an African American who had spent his early life as a slave in Arkansas and Texas makes his accomplishments all the more remarkable. Bucking the odds (“I’m sorry, we didn’t keep black people’s history,” a clerk at one of Oklahoma’s local historical societies answered a query), Art T. Burton sifts through fact and legend to discover the truth about one of the most outstanding peace officers in late nineteenth-century America—and perhaps the greatest lawman of the Wild West era. Fluent in Creek and other southern Native languages, physically powerful, skilled with firearms, and a master of disguise, Reeves was exceptionally adept at apprehending fugitives and outlaws, and his exploits were legendary in Oklahoma and Arkansas. A finalist for the 2007 Spur Award, sponsored by the Western Writers of America, Black Gun, Silver Star tells Bass Reeves’s story for the first time and restores this remarkable figure to his rightful place in the history of the American West.

"[Burton's] years of research resulted in a remarkable story of an Old West giant, one who arguably was the best in his business."

True West Magazine

 

“(Black, Red, and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of the Indian Territories, 1870-1907) is a meaningful addition to my library, especially with the recent dedication of the Buffalo Soldier Monument. Your book illuminates another exciting chapter in the story of the outstanding contributions made by African Americans to our Nation’s history.” 

Colin L. Powell
65th United States Secretary of State, American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army.

 

“For my fellow writer, Art T. Burton, who has given us a real marshal of Parker’s Court, Bass Reeves, with admiration.”

 Charles Portis
Author of True Grit, the novel, which was made into a movie starring John Wayne, also an upcoming movie adaption by the Coen Brothers, he remarked about Black Gun, Silver Star.

 

“Thank you for telling those stories to us. They are an important part of United States history.”

Sterling B. Epps
Special Assistant to the Director-Congressional Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice

 

“Burton’s true tales about Black men of iron resolve such as U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves are a breakthrough for minority groups who often feel left out of the dominant American myth of the cowboy. Burton might have focused on Reeves alone, but his wider view includes many more Indian and Black gunfighters, lawmen, outlaws….”

Michael Martin Murphy
Cowboy Singer & Songwriter, Albuquerque Journal

 

“Art T. Burton’s homage to the Black lawmen and outlaws who populated the old West…”

Ebony Magazine

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