Montana’s African American Heritage Resources


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The Identifying Montana’s African American Heritage Places Project aims to provide academic, place-based historical resources as well as new scholarship. Place-based history pivots the study of the past around existing structures, neighborhoods, sites, or environments. This project has produced a number of original, place-based resources that professional historians and casual viewers alike will find enlightening and easy to use.

Mapping Historic Neighborhoods

Sandborn Map

We mapped the neighborhoods and houses of African Americans in seven Montana cities during the twentieth century. Using the 1910 and 1930 Federal Censuses and Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from the historical period, we recorded the locations of verifiable African American homes and residences along with some information about those who called those places home.

Property Record Forms 

Property Record Forms

Historic Property Record Forms are official documents which provide a basic history of a particular property. The forms include legal locations, architectural descriptions, histories, maps, and photographs. This project compiled 50 property records for buildings associated with Montana’s early African American history. Completing property record forms is often a first step towards listing a building on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places

National Register of Historic Places

Properties in the National Register have been researched at the highest level, and placed within the greater historical context of their community, city, state, and region. Montana has five properties listed in the National Register that garner their significance from the history of the African American community. Two additional nominations, as well as a Multiple Properties Documentation form relaying the narrative of the city’s early black residents, have been prepared for the city of Helena.

Story Maps

Montana's African American Heritage Resources Story Map

Explore map-based, interactive narratives about Montana’s black communities via three informative story maps. Our statewide map highlights 25 properties in eleven cities across Montana. Our Helena map offers insight to 27 properties in that city, and our Driver Family map traces the history of one family based in Anaconda, from the late 19th through the twentieth century.

This material is based upon work assisted by grants from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service and the Montana History Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior nor the Montana History Foundation.

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