Black History Month: York

Today I want to talk about a man named York. Like many Oregonians, I have always been fascinated by the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the Corps of Discovery, and have been blown away by the information that I’ve learned as an adult that was left out as a child.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the role of York, the slave of William Clark, who was forced to participate in the expedition as a slave, and who’s story was whitewashed by American History. 

York experienced incredible trauma on the Lewis and Clark Expedition (only compounded by the harsh conditions and danger experienced by everyone who participated in the journey). When the journey was over-Clark refused to free York despite his contributions to the Corps of Discovery, and actually removed York from “house” service and sent him to do farm labor. York was later freed, and little is know about his life thereafter.

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