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General Info

On its surface, "American Progress" has nothing to do with Black Seminoles or African Americans, which is precisely why the work is included here. The image well represents the enduring, white mythology of "Manifest Destiny." In the same year that John Gast painted this paean to the westward march of American civilization, the Black Seminoles were enlisting as army scouts on the Texas frontier. There, they played a decisive role in the battles that won the west, serving in both the largest and the last Indian battles in Texas.

From Gast's wonderfully composed painting, one would hardly know that African Americans had anything to do with the history of the West. As with so much of our frontier history, the details left out are as interesting as those that were included.

(Run cursor over image and click to call up visual details.)