To honor Juneteenth

Educating myself about Black history in New Mexico

Cemeteries are one of my favorite places to photograph. So upon my return to New Mexico and traveling back roads I’ve come to discover some small lessor known plots. Recently my sister and I discovered the Vado Riverview Cemetery near Vado, NM. It so happens that Francis Marion Boyer, who was fleeing the Ku Klux Klan, founded the state of New Mexico’s first community of African Americans, known as Blackdom, NM. Both he and his wife Ella, were highly educated and made education a top priority in their communities. At its peak (1908) Blackdom had a ‘black’ population of 300 with local businesses, a newspaper and a church. But by 1921, many had moved on due to drought and the Great Depression. Some helped the Boyers establish Vado, New Mexico making it a mixed race community in Dona Ana County.

In case you are interested you can learn more here:

History of Blackdom, NM

Boyer’s walk from Georgia

Francis Marion Boyer-community leader

Influence of African-Americans in New Mexico

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