Sugar T. George, the “African Town King”

Indian Mission Conference. October 24, 1874. Photograph. The Gateway to Oklahoma History. Oklahoma Historical Society. (accessed October 19, 2021).

Sugar T. George was one of the wealthiest Black men in Indian Territory. He had connections to Oklahoma’s beginnings, its battles, its creation of All-Black Towns, and its establishment of Native governments. 

George was born enslaved to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation before removal to present-day Oklahoma. After moving to North Fork Town when he was a young adult, he would soon become involved in the Civil War. Joining the Loyal Creeks, with a promise of freedom, he would fight for the Union. Throughout that time, George would play a critical role acting as a translator between the Creek and white soldiers they came across. By 1864, George acted as the commander of his company in the First Indian Home Guard. This was a unique experience as his company was led by white or Creek men previously.

After the war, George became a fully recognized member of the Creek Nation. He would amass great wealth and connections with officials all over the Territory and the Nation. With the official establishment of North Fork Colored he would be elected Town King, receiving the title “The African Town King”. He would go on and be elected into the House of Warriors and House of Kings in the Muscogee Nation National Council, which dealt with important hearings and laws, especially financial claims from Civil War veterans. George would later be sent to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of the Creeks.

Along with his responsibilities with official governments, George would be elected to the Tullahassee Mission School Board which served Creek and Seminole freedmen. He was a prominent member in his community, receiving the title of Reverend, acting as a legal witness for his neighbors, and writing letters for those who were illiterate. At the end of his life he left an estimate of $20,000 for his wife and a legacy of success, dignity, and pride.


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