A New Mexico Ghost Town That You’ve Never Heard Of Uncovers An Untold Story Of America’s History

Have you ever heard of Blackdom? Chances are, you answered in the negative. After all, the history of many New Mexico ghost towns fades with time. One of the reasons ghost towns fascinate us is because they represent the dreams of the past. But, those who established Blackdom dreamed bigger than most. You see, Blackdom was the first all-black settlement in the New Mexico Territory. So why don’t we know much about Blackdom? It’s time we learned:

If you’d like to know more about Blackdom, New Mexico PBS devoted an episode of “Colores” to the town.

Can you think of any other lost towns in New Mexico whose stories deserve to be told? If you’re a fan of abandoned places like this one, consider visiting these New Mexico ghost towns!

Address: Blackdom Well, New Mexico 88232, USA

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In General, Why Don't We Know Much About Blackdom?

July 30, 2022

What was Blackdom. New Mexico?  

Blackdom was well ahead of its time, that’s for sure. It was a historic freedom colony of black men and women in Chaves County, New Mexico, founded by black settlers in 1901. It lasted until the 1920s when it was eventually abandoned and achieved ghost town status. The town grew exponentially in its first few years, with settlers moving in from all over the country for quite some time. A tremendous drought in the 20s, however, made farming and life here difficult, and the folks who called it home had no choice but to up and leave for greener pastures – literally.  

What made the settlement of Blackdom unique?  

Blackdom, New Mexico was unique for several reasons. Including that the community was the first-ever all-black settlement in the New Mexico territory. Juneteenth celebrations were had here, and the kind folks making up the community (of which there were almost 300 people by 1908) would even invite their white neighbors to come to join in the fun. The only reason the community failed was due to extreme drought and a rash of misfortunes that came with it, like a 1916 infestation of worms that wiped out crops and a buildup of alkali in the soil preventing crops from thriving.  

Have there been any other all-black settlements in New Mexico?  

Blackdom was the very first all-black settlement in New Mexico, but it wasn’t necessarily the last. There were several other settlements in New Mexico that were all-black, mostly black, or partially black, and New Mexico was considered one of the freest states if you were black and looking to own some land. In Luna County was Camp Furlong, which had 3,225 black folks living there by the 1920 federal census. In Bernalillo County was Fort Wingate, where a large number of black soldiers lived.  

Address: Blackdom Well, New Mexico 88232, USA

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