The Lewis & Clark Expedition was a pivotal moment in American history. But the story of York, a slave to William Clark from boyhood and comrade on this journey, has been obscured by omission and stereotype.
York’s personal story is not well known, though the story of Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery is. How is it that we as a culture remember some pieces of history and not others? Some of what we know about York comes from the oral histories of various native peoples who encountered York as the Corps made its way across the continent. Other pieces of information about York’s role come from William Clark’s journals and letters.
When the Expedition returns to the Eastern United States, York’s life becomes even more controversial. Denied his freedom by Clark, historians continue to disagree over two versions of York’s ultimate fate. “Oregon Experience: Searching for York,” paints a portrait of this unofficial member of the Corps of Discovery as it explores the ways in which history is written. Shot on location at Fort Vancouver and Fort Clatsop, the program is an engaging and provocative look at a man shrouded in mystery.
Robert Betts, In Search of York: The Slave who went to the Pacific with Lewis and Clark
Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, et al, Gary Moulton, Editor, The Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery
William Clark, James J. Holmberg, Editor, Dear Brother; Letters of William Clark to Jonathan Clark
Washington Irving, John Francis McDermott, Editor, The Western Journals of Washington Irving
Zenas Leonard, John C. Ewers, Editor, Adventures of Zenas Leonard, Fur Trader
Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, et al, Nicholas Biddle, Editor, Journals of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
Zoa L. Swayne, Do Them No Harm; Lewis and Clark Among the Nez Perce
Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Elliott Coues, Editor, The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Frank X. Walker, Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York
York of the Corps of Discovery
Oregon Historical Quarterly
A Notion about Freedom; the relationship of William Clark and York
Big Medison: York's Life During and After the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Speech at the "Confluence of Cultures" conference University of Montana
Broadcast Date: August 05, 2010