Blackdom, New Mexico
Growing up, Frank Boyer spent much of his childhood listening to his fathers stories. His father, Henry, was a freedman (former slave) from Pullman, GA who fought in the 1846 Mexican-American War. The stories his father shared with him about his time in New Mexico during the war piqued his interest in the west. While attending Morehouse and Fisk colleges, Frank learned about the laws and requirements for homesteading. The Homestead Acts were several laws in the United States by which any applicant who’d never taken guns against the United States could acquire ownership of government land or the public domain. After marrying his wife Ella, Frank began teaching in Georgia; often encouraging Black people to report the threats, abuse, and racist treatment they were often exposed to. Naturally, this act of courage from the young man upset the Klu Klux Klan, a white supremacist domestic terrorist organization, who then began threatening his life. His father Henry became alarmed and encourage him to move west. With two other like minded friends, Frank packed up and headed out to the west. The trio traveled on foot, stopping and picking up day work along the trip. Frank's idea heading west was to found a self-sustaining community for Black people which would be free from the hindrances that existed in the South.
By 1901 Blackdom is founded, 8 miles west of Dexter, NM and 18 miles South of Roswell, NM. That same year Ella, Franks wife, arrived with their children. The community of Blackdom was centered largely around Frank and Ella’s house. To attract more people, Frank advertised in a number of newspapers for Black homesteaders, encouraging them to join the community; officially making Blackdom the first and only Black town in New Mexico.
By 1908, the community had 25 families with about 300 people and a number of businesses that included a blacksmith shop, hotel, weekly newspaper, and a Baptist church; on 15,000 acres of land.
In 1916 worms infested the the majority of the crops. That same year the community saw the sudden depletion of the natural wells of the Artesia aquifer that had provided the water for the farms, forcing the majority of the residents to move to Roswell, NM.
In 1921 the town officially became incorporated as 40 acres with 166 lots; however the failure of the community due to the drought resulted in Frank and Ella loosing their home in 1921, before relocating to Vado, NM.
None of the buildings remain standing. The only remaining evidence of the town that once stood is the concrete foundation from the school house.