Susan Lee Johnson holds the inaugural Harry Reid Endowed Chair for the History of the Intermountain West at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is President-Elect of the Western History Association. Johnson is the author of Writing Kit Carson: Fallen Heroes in a Changing West and Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush. A historian of western North America, Johnson studies the history of gender, desire, and embodiment, and of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity. Johnson’s current project explores how the nineteenth-century Santa Fe Trail connected two worlds of slavery—Black chattel slavery in Missouri and points east and Indigenous captivity and coerced labor in New Mexico and the borderlands.
This lecture explores how the Santa Fe Trail connected two worlds of slavery--Black chattel slavery in Missouri and points east, and Indigenous captivity and coerced labor in New Mexico and the borderlands. It focuses on the U.S.-Mexico War era, when increased travel on the trail left a long paper trail. It examines the quotidian experiences of captive and enslaved people, who were Indigenous, African American, and ethnic Mexican.