Lessons in Black History – CRAWFORD “CHEROKEE BILL” GOLDSBY

cherokeebillCRAWFORD “CHEROKEE BILL” GOLDSBY – Through the magic of Hollywood, the most legendary figures of the old west, both lawmen and outlaws, have almost always been white. In reality, this was not the case, with some of the most well known people on both sides of the law in the old west being black. This is especially true of Crawford Goldsby, better known as Cherokee Bill, one of the most ruthless outlaws of his time. Born in Texas in 1876, Cherokee Bill was the son of a former Buffalo Soldier and a Cherokee Freedman. Cherokee Bill started his life of crime at age 18, when he shot another man in a dispute. He joined up with outlaws Bill and Jim Cook, and in the summer and fall of 1894, the Cook Gang terrorized much of Oklahoma, robbing and killing with little discretion. The gang split up in late 1894, and in January of 1895, Cherokee Bill was captured. His subsequent trial resulted in a death sentence, and on March 17, 1896, he was sent to the gallows. The day Cherokee Bill was set to be hung, he left behind two lasting memories for his legacy. Legend has it that when Cherokee Bill woke up on the morning of March 17, he said, “This is as good a day as any to die.” When he was taken to the gallows, and asked if he had any last words, Cherokee Bill stated for the record, “I came here to die, not make a speech.” He was dead a few minutes later at the age of 20.

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