Two highly educated families of African-American farmers founded Empire, Wyo., near the Nebraska line northeast of Torrington in 1908. At one time it boasted school, church and post office. But drought, low crop prices and, evidence shows, the racial prejudices of their neighbors drove the people away; all were gone by 1930.
Robert Galbreath is a graduate student at the University of Wyoming pursuing a Master's degree in American Studies. He grew up in Laramie and Sheridan, Wyo., and became interested in homesteading history while exploring the state's rural roads on his bicycle. He plans to base his master's thesis on the research he has done on the African-American community of Empire.