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February 2024 - Between the Pages: Dr. Timothy E. Nelson and Blackdom


Dr. Nelson
Dr. Timothy E. Nelson

Dr. Timothy E. Nelson is a remarkable individual with a diverse background and a passion for uncovering untold stories. The long-lost city of Blackdom, New Mexico, has become the focus of his teachings, and it comes down to two reasons. "Because it's family," states Nelson. "My grandfather - he's from Lott, Texas. But the other thing is the way that history is shared. Historians remove Black people from this particular history, and the racialization and the borderlines will not allow black folks to appear as dynamic as they were, so that kind of the inspiration that drives me when I'm so passionate."


His book, Blackdom, New Mexico: The Significance of the Afro-Frontier, 1900-1930, is an education into a town rich with Black culture and success. Nelson shares that many are mistaken about how the city met its demise. "Many believed that Blackdom was abandoned. However, new evidence shows that the scheme to build generational wealth continued throughout the twentieth century in other forms," explained Nelson. "During boom times, in December 1919, Blackdom Oil Company shifted town business from a regenerative agricultural community to a more extractive model."


Nelson has uncovered new primary source materials that suggest that Blackdom is a newly discovered third decade. This story has never been told or contextualized until now. "Blackdom, New Mexico is a phenomenological study that proves Black People were better off without the governance of consciously "White" people."


Nelson will expand on his book through documentaries and movies, giving readers a better understanding of the topic. He is excited to introduce other elements to the category where collaboration is welcome. "Have you ever heard of Black Women in the Wild West? I mean as a unit, not an individual with a gun, solo. I mean a whole community of Black women! All kinds of Black women on one side on the secular side. You had people like Mittie Moore Wilson - a madam, a bootlegger, a gunslinger. I have already written a screenplay, and there's already a concept trailer out there, but you know it's time for us to get hot, so let's collaborate!"


Nelson will have readings of the book at several locations, including Bookworks and the Santa Fe Public Library. To learn more about upcoming readings and projects, or if you want to join forces to expand and grow the story, visit their website at AfroFrontier.com or blackdomthesis.com.

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