Did you know that in the 19th century 1 out of every 4 cowboys was Black? Historians now estimate that 25% of cowboys in the American west were African Americans The term cowboy used to be a hate word used to refer to slaves who would ride horses while carrying out maintenance on the large acres of farm land and the whites called themselves “white hands” or “cowhands” .unfortunately America has managed to whitewash factual historical events that occurred thanks to holly wood. Hollywood has managed to push a narrative which casts mostly white actors in all their blockbuster movies as the heroes based on the cowboy culture such as a million ways to die in the west and the Lone Ranger which was played by a white man yet the story is based on a black man ( Bass Reeves). After reading through this blog you will get to know about the first black cowboys who lived through the 1800s and 1900s as listed below

1. Nat Love

Nat love also known as “dead wood dick”was born into slavery in 1854 at Davisson county Tennessee and died in 1921.He was the most famous black cowboy that ever lived he grew up with a love for wildlife and he was literate. One day Nat love came across cowboys delivering their herd back to Texas and he noticed some of them were black and asked the trail boss for a job and thethe trail boss agreed to hire Natlove only if he could break a horse called Good eye the wildest horse in the herd Jim bronco who was also another black cowboy gave him some pointers on how he can tame and ride that horse after several trials he successfully tamed rode the horse and joined the group.

2.Bill Pickett “The bull dogger”

He was one of the black cowboys born December 5 1870 at Travis county Texas and died April 2 1932.Pickett descended from American Indians and black slaves in the southwest .He introduced American rodeo into bull dogging a mordern rodeo event that involves wrestling a running steer to the ground .He mastered the art of of wrestling bulls to the ground using their horns while riding horses.

3. Bose Ikard

He was a slave born in 1843 in Nouxbee county Mississippi and died 1929 Austin Texas.He pioneered cattle drives on the famous good night trail.

4.Bass reeves “The real Lone Ranger”

Bass reeves was the first black deputy US marshal west of the Mississippi River. He was born July 1838 in Crawford county Arkansas United States and died January 1910 in Muskogee Oklahoma USA. He worked mostly In Oklahoma and Arkansas territory he was beloved to be one of the best marshals to ever live and he captured over 3000 convicts during his reign Bass Reeves was so popular that Hollywood made a movie called Django which was based on him during the civil war Bass Reeves became a fugitive slave and he sought refuge in Indian territory which is now mordern day Oklahoma.

5.Johanna July

Johanna July was a black Seminole who was born around 1857in Nacimiento de los Negros the settlement established in northern Mexico. She was known as the Indian horse breaker.July developed her own method of taming wild horses which gained attention of the US army compelling them to hire her.

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This article was written by Thelma Letasi


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