The Hughes’s family story is important to the University of Idaho and the Moscow area not only because they were the first Black/African-American students to both attend and graduate from the University, but because they were also able to excel in the Moscow area. While most towns in the developing West were certainly racially barring, the town of Moscow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries seems to have been welcoming to the Crisemon (also Hughes or Chrisman) family. Their success in integrating to the area, over that of Chinese settlers in the early 20th century, may be contributed to the unusualness of Black people in the area or the relatively small migration when compared to the much larger migration of the Chinese. In other words, it may be that the Crisemon family found more of a welcoming attitude as their arrival did not upset the overall racial makeup of Moscow, whereas the Chinese migration did. The Crisemon story also shows that Black/African-American academics would be taken seriously in the area, and that they would be allowed to obtain degrees from the University of Idaho.


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The Seminal History and Prospective Future of Blacks at the University of Idaho Copyright © 2023 by Brody Gasper and Sydney Freeman Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.