The tale of American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their epic transcontinental journey has long been a fixture in history books. A little known fact behind the pair’s adventure was that a Black slave helped the men bridge cultural gaps between themselves and American Indian they encountered along the way.
Terra Hall of Fox4 Kansas City recently reported that a slave named York helped Lewis and Clark gain access with American Indians during their trudge through the Midwest. American Indians saw York’s dark skin as a sign of strength and power.
“He’s [York] the first known African American known to make it all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back. So he’s one of the greats as far as the explorers are concerned,” said Richard Edwards of the National Frontier Trials Museum in Independence, Mo.
For the entire month of February, Edwards will be sharing tales of York and other Black Americans who were instrumental in shaping America’s place in history.