A new book by the Montana Historical Society tells the story of Rose Beatrice Gordon of White Sulphur Springs, who lived an ordinary life in terms of day-to-day struggles, but her experiences were extraordinary.
“A Black Woman’s West: The Life of Rose B. Gordon” by Michael K. Johnson provides insight into her life.
Born in the Barker Mining District of central Montana Territory, Gordon (1883-1968) was the daughter of an African-American chef and an emancipated slave who migrated to the West in the early 1880s.
In her youth, Gordon excelled academically and distinguished herself as a musical performer. As an adult, she established her economic independence as a restaurant owner, massage therapist and caregiver.
She also made a place for herself in the public sphere through letters to the editor and eventually through a regular newspaper column for the “Meagher County News” – a remarkable undertaking at a time when Black women in America were largely denied a public voice.
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“This forthcoming book will tell the story of the Gordon family – John, Anna, Robert, Rose, John Francis Jr., George and Taylor – and pays tribute to Rose,