In Search of York: The Slave who Went to the Pacific with Lewis and Clark

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Colorado Associated University Press, 1985 - Lewis and Clark Expedition - 182 pages
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The sole African American member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, William Clark's enigmatic body servant York has inspired numerous myths about his character and exploits. He was supposed to be a man of superb physique and stamina, and some believed that he clowned and womanized his way across the continent and made no significant contributions to the outcome of the Expedition. More often than not, reputable historians have assumed that these myths surrounding him were reliable portrayals of the first black man to reach the Pacific Ocean.

First published in 1985, Robert B. Betts' unique account of this long-obscured historical figure is now back in an updated edition with new material and illustrations. "In Search of York" removes many of the fallacies surrounding York and pinpoints the important role he played in the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Through painstaking research and the synthesis of all the available information known about York, Betts exposes the impact of racial prejudice on historical interpretation. Neither the hero that a few romantic chroniclers have drawn nor the buffoon of many accounts tainted with racism, Betts' York emerges as a believable human being touching both the heights and depths of the world he lived in.

A significant contribution to Lewis and Clark studies, "In Search of York" is an invaluable model of historical inquiry for scholars and a fascinating story for all readers.

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Contents

The York of the Lewis and Clark Journals
5
To the Continental Divide
19
To the Pacific
33
Copyright

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