2014 Fall Book Tour
Northern Slave, Black Dakota:
The Life and Times of Joseph Godfrey
Walt Bachman’s family name is well-known in Minnesota. His great-grandfather, Henry Bachman, founded Bachman’s Inc., the nation’s largest retail florist; but there’s a side of the Bachman family few knew about until now. Henry’s wife, Hattie Dietrich, was the daughter of uprising victim Ernest Dietrich, who had been killed at the beginning of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The man accused of killing him was Joseph Godfrey, a black man born a slave in Minnesota at a time when it was supposed to be free territory.
When he was young, Walt Bachman’s grandfather had told him stories about what had happened on that fateful day, and he wanted to know more about his great grandfather’s accused murderer, so he started digging. The end result of his research is the book, Northern Slave, Black Dakota: The Life and Times of Joseph Godfrey, published in March 2013 by Pond Dakota Press, a division of the Pond Dakota Heritage Society.
Walt Bachman, who is both an historian and retired trial lawyer, will share his ground-breaking research documenting how the U.S. Army pay system rewarded military officers for using enslaved people as servants in “free” states and territories at the events listed below. He will describe how these policies and practices brought slavery to Minnesota and shaped Joseph Godfrey’s extraordinary life story. Godfrey grew up in bondage serving Minnesota’s fur-trade elite and, as a fugitive from Minnesota slavery, was conscripted to join warriors in the U.S. Dakota War of 1862. The book Northern Slave, Black Dakota: The Life and Times of Joseph Godfrey tells the story of Godfrey’s participation in the 1862 war.
Copies of Northern Slave, Black Dakota will be available for purchase and signing.
Author Walt Bachman’s Upcoming Events
|7:00 pm||Dakota County Historical Society
130 3rd Ave N
So. St. Paul
|Free public event. For more information,
|6:00 pm||Mankato Area Life Long Learners
Bethel Baptist Church
1250 Monks Avenue
|Program intended for members, but
space may be available. Call 507.389.2011.
|5:30 pm||Mower County Historical Society
Hormel Historic Home
208 4th Ave. NW
|Free public event. Cash bar available.
For more information, call 507.433.4243.
For more information, send us an email.