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From York, the first black man in what's now Montana, to Geraldine Travis, the state's first black legislator, the African-American men and women who shaped Montana's history encountered both prejudice and opportunity.
"I think people are surprised there was an African-American population here and that it was as large as it was," said Ellen Baumler, interpretive historian for the Montana Historical Society.
Baumler said she never thought Montana had much prejudice. Then for an oral history project, one of her students interviewed two members of Helena's black community.
"That was a real eye-opener for me," she said. "One of the men said he grew up in two worlds, with two sets of rules, one for home and one for out in public. While on the surface, it didn't look like there was much discrimination, he wasn't allowed to go to certain places, like restaurants and barbershops."
On the other hand, the black community wasn't segregated as it was in much of the country. Experiences were mixed across the state and through the years.