Old West African-American Lawman honored with Oklahoma Senate painting

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OKLAHOMA CITY — A former slave who ran away to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma and later became the first black U.S. deputy marshal is being honored by the Oklahoma Senate with a painting in his honor that will hang at the Capitol.

The oil painting unveiled on Tuesday depicts Old West hero Bass Reeves on horseback chasing an outlaw through the Arkansas River in modern-day Tulsa, with Turkey Mountain in the background.

Reeves was a servant for a colonel in the Confederate Army who fled into Indian Territory and befriended Native Americans from several tribes before settling on a farm near Van Buren, Arkansas.

He later was appointed a U.S. deputy marshal because of his knowledge of the area and his ability to speak multiple Indian languages.