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Lilah Morton Pengra

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  1. Myths, mysteries and misinformation have hidden the true story of  ISAIAH DORMAN the only African American to die at Custer’s famous last stand on the Little Bighorn River in 1876. Lilah Morton Pengra questions the myths and lves many of the mysteries by INTERPRETING THE EVIDENCE that she gathered over fifteen years of research. She deftly leads the reader into accompanying Isaiah Dorman on his journey through life as a black man in nineteenth-century America, part of white colonial expansion into the West but also enmeshed in the culture and struggles of his wife’s Dakota people. He was born free in Pennsylvania and married in Minnesota. He participated in the Civil War then created a home in Dakota Territory. But what kind of man was he? Join anthropologist Pengra in looking beyond the simple facts of his biography to consider the more complex challenges of his multicultural world.



    Lilah... I just finished reading your book... it is awesome!  You did a wonderful job in discussing ALL layers of ALL issues surrounding Isaiah's life! There aren't enough words to praise your understanding and ability to untangle all the misinformation and to set things straight! I believe Isaiah chose you to write about his life. I can see how you were compelled to write about all the information collected over the years. Yes, Isaiah has been prodding you all along all these many years! Remarkable. I am so very proud of your accomplishments, research and writing skills! Thank you so very, very much! Elaine Matlow, great great granddaughter of Isaiah Dorman


    Pengra's extraordinarily gifted and persistent research unveils the complexities of Isaiah Dorman, one of history's fascinating but widely misunderstood African American heroes. Her effort further stands as an important and sensitive contribution to truth and understanding of the racial frontier.  —William Loren Katz, author, Black IndiansThe Black West and


    Pengra’s study of Isaiah Dorman is a tightly woven tapestry depicting an ordinary life made unusual by circumstance. She has organized the book so that professional historians as well as more casual readers can learn from and enjoy it. Her writing is concise and compelling, and her scholarship rests on thorough research, careful judgment, and meticulous attention to detail.  —Linda M. Hasselstrom, author, Windbreak House Writing Retreats   www.windbreakhouse.com


    The mystery of the Battle of the Little Bighorn is not limited to the controversial movements of the soldiers and their warrior opponents. Even more it includes the very backgrounds of those who fought. Up until now one of the most elusive has been Isaiah Dorman, the only African American to die with Custer. Now, thanks to the remarkable sleuthing of Lilah Morton Pengra, we have a portrait of this mysterious figure who bridged a number of cultures and who gave his life in the service of his country. Vincent Heier, author, Little Bighorn, a postcard history of the battle


    According to Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." I witnessed the respect and consideration that Lilah showed while researching Isaiah Dorman, especially with my people, the Lakota Oyate. Observing her dedication and work on this book has empowered me to educate myself and others on our own Lakota history. Philámayaye, Mitákuye Oyás´iƞ Geraldine Goes In Center, author, Recognize Our Similarities; Respect Our Differences, Lakota Recipes and Jokes Heard Around the Rez



    tiny cover.jpg

    Lune House Publishing, Buffalo Gap, SD

    ISBN: 978-0-692-68262-3

    printed: July, 2016

    360 pp, illus., maps, endnotes, bibliographical references and index

    I am interested in having my book reviewed on this site and in academic journals. Thank you. Lilah, contact me at lilah@hcinet.net 


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