In this Book
In Oregon, Saules encountered a multiethnic population already transformed by colonialism—in particular, the fur industry and Protestant missionaries. Once the Oregon Trail emigrants began arriving in large numbers, in 1843, Saules had to adapt to a new reality in which Anglo-American settlers persistently sought to marginalize and exclude black residents from the region. Unlike Saules, who adapted and thrived in Oregon’s multiethnic milieu, the settler colonists sought to remake Oregon as a white man’s country. They used race as shorthand to determine which previous inhabitants would be included and which would be excluded. Saules inspired and later had to contend with a web of black exclusion laws designed to deny black people citizenship, mobility, and land.
In Dangerous Subjects, Kenneth Coleman sheds light on a neglected chapter in Oregon’s history. His book will be welcomed by scholars in the fields of western history and ethnic studies, as well as general readers interested in early Oregon and its history of racial exclusion.