Beyond the Watchmen – by Art T. Burton
Tuesday, July 27th at 6:00 PM
An interactive presentation about:
Bass Reeves, the legendary Deputy U.S. Marshal featured in the HBO hit The Watchmen
Barney Cleaver, Tulsa’s first black police officer
Award-winning author Art T. Burton will discuss Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves who patrolled the frontier Tulsa area and vicinity. Reeves served for thirty-two years, from 1875 to 1907, the longest serving deputy U.S. marshal in the history of the Indian Territory. Initially Reeves worked for the federal “Hanging Judge” Isaac C. Parker at Fort Smith, Arkansas, then he served the federal court at Paris, Texas and his last federal court at Muskogee, Indian Territory. Reeves captured more than 3,000 men and women who broke federal law and killed more than twenty men in the line of duty. Reeves became a legend during his lifetime and might have been the inspiration for the fictional hero “The Lone Ranger.”
Burton will also discuss the first African American Tulsa police officer Barney Cleaver, who started with the city in 1907 and later became a deputy Sheriff for Tulsa County. Cleaver played a major role in trying to quell the disturbance on May 31, 1921 in Tulsa. Cleaver is an important figure in early Tulsa history. He owned a detective agency and worked as a policeman until the early 1930’s.
Books will be available for sale and include:
Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves
Cherokee Bill: Black Cowboy, Indian Outlaw – The first biography on the most famous outlaw of the Indian Territory.
About the Author:
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, 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.