Cherokee Bill, one of the meanest of the mean, was hanged for the murder of thirteen men by the time he was twenty. Author Art Burton recounts the exploits of Cherokee Bill and other black and Indian outlaws and lawmen in Black, Red, and Deadly, the story of law and lawlessness in the Indian Territory. He also tells of Dick Glass, the most notorious African American outlaw during the 1880s; Ned Christie, the most feared Indian outlaw of his time; the Rufus Buck gang, who gained instant notoriety with murder, plunder, and rape; as well as others who rode the trail of crime. The author introduces Ezekiel Proctor, the only man with whom the U.S. government made a treaty; Indian policemen known as "Lighthorsemen"; fearless Sam Sixkiller; black men who rode for Judge Parker, the "hanging judge," such as Grant Johnson; and Bass Reeves, the greatest manhunter of them all. African Americans were hired as peace officers because of their knowledge of Indian Territory. All-black calvary units built Fort Sill in the 1870s and kept settlers in check before the Land Run of 1889 when Oklahoma Territory was opened to settlement.
Art T. Burton received a B.A. and a M.A. in African American Studies from Governors State University. He retired in 2015 after spending 38 years in higher education, as a history teacher, at Prairie State College and South Suburban College and administrator in African American Student Affairs at Benedictine University, Loyola University Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.
In 1991, Burton wrote the first book on African American and Native American outlaw and lawmen in the Wild West. It is titled Black, Red and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of the Indian Territory, 1870-1907. In 1999, Burton wrote the first book on African Americans who were scouts and soldiers in the Wild West. The book is titled Black Buckskin and Blue: African American Scouts and Soldiers on the Western Frontier. In 2007, Burton wrote the first scholarly biography on an African American lawman of the Wild West. This work is titled, Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves.
Some of the honors Mr. Burton has received include being named a "Territorial Marshal" by Gov. David Walters of Oklahoma in 1995; being inducted into "Who's Who in Black Chicago" in 2007; inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth, Texas in 2008; inducted into "Who's Who in America" in 2010; and was given the "Living Legend Award" by the Bare Bones Film Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 2015."
Burton has appeared in four documentaries for the History Channel on cable television. He was a participant on BET's Teen Summit with Mario Van Peebles for discussion on the movie Posse. In 2015, Burton appeared on FOX Cables' Legends and Lies Series, episode title, "The Real Lone Ranger" and was a participant in the AHC Cable series Gunslingers episode on Bass Reeves. Burton spoke at the B. B. King Symposium at Mississippi Valley State University in the fall of 2018 on African American and Native American cultures. In July 2019, Burton was the keynote speaker at the 10th Anniversary Bass Reeves Western History Conference in Muskogee, Oklahoma.