Black Cowboys did the same things as white cowboys in that they wrestled steers, rode bulls. buck broncos, roped calve and many other things. The difference throughout history in America is the fact that black Americans were not afforded the same level of success as their white counterparts. Many times the black cowboy was better but reporters never mentioned it, the pay for winning never found the pockets of the black cowboy. It was blatant discrimination.
There was a struggle for racial equality in the cowboy circuit along with human rights issues and social injustice. That is the crux of author Keith Ryan Cartwright’s book.
He has 38 chapters that highlight one or more black cowboy and their struggle to be viewed as an equal in the rodeo circuit throughout the United States, Such as Cleo Hearn, the first black cowboy to professionally rope in the Rodeo Cowboy Association and Myrtis Dightman who was dubbed the Jackie Robinson of Rodeo. He became the first black cowboy to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo. In the Sate of Texas, Tex Williams was the first black cowboy to win the high school rodeo championship.
The author takes the reader on a journey that encompasses the streets of Harlem, the splendor of Hollywood and simpler things like the farms in Oklahoma and touches on Jim Crow segregation. there are over one hundred years of stories found in the annals of black cowboy history which include stories of Bill Pickett and how hard he had to work to make a living and became great friends with the white people he was with.
This is a fantastic book and is a history book that hopefully never gets lost or forgotten. A book of black men that were just as equal but not a relevant throughout history of cowboys and rodeos. This is a book that should be required reading in American History classes.
I would like to thank the University of Nebraska Press for allowing me to do a fair and honest book review.
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Black Cowboys Product Details
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2021
About the Author
Keith Ryan Cartwright is a communications specialist for the Rutherford County Board of Education in Tennessee, an adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University, and a journalist. He previously served as editorial director and senior writer for Professional Bull Riders Inc. and is the author of Professional Bull Riders: The Official Guide to the Toughest Sport on Earth.