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America's forgotten black cowboys


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#1    Ohelemapit

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 12:00 PM

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The most common image of the cowboy is a gun-toting, boot-wearing, white man - like John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood.

But the Hollywood portrayal of the Wild West is a whitewashed version of the reality. It is thought that about a quarter of all cowboys were black.

Like many people, Jim Austin - a college-educated, 45-year-old businessman - hadn't heard about the black presence in the Old West.

The discovery inspired him and his wife Gloria to set up the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. It pays tribute to some of the forgotten black cowboys - men like Bill Pickett, a champion rodeo rider who invented bulldogging, a technique where he would jump from a horse on to a steer and take the animal down by biting on its lip.

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#2    Taun

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 12:09 PM

Black cowboys were very prevelant here in Oklahoma... Back way before statehood, when the "Indian Territories" were policed from Fort Smith, Arkansas some of the very best trackers and lawmen who roamed the Indian Territories were black cowboys... The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western heritage Museum here in OKC had an entire section on them - and may still have (I haven't been there in a long time)...

It was Hollywood that "white washed" the image of the cowboy ... There were entire regiments of black cavalry troops as well (the Indians called them "Buffalo Soldiers") many of them served here...


#3    Frank Merton

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:03 PM

Hollywood also shaved them.


#4    freetoroam

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

Oh good old Hollywood!! like the movies about the Romans and Greeks, blond haired and blue eyed with scenery and clothes not even Onassis could afford.
If there had been more black Mr Cohens or Epstiens they would have got the parts in the cowboy films a lot more.

Edited by freetoroam, 22 March 2013 - 01:14 PM.

In an ideal World a law would be passed were NO guns were allowed and all those out there destroyed, trouble is the law makers are not going to take a risk of trying to pass that without making sure they are armed first.

#5    Ashotep

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:15 PM

Blacks weren't given many roles in any older movies westerns or otherwise.  When I was a kid I didn't know there were any black cowboys but when I got older I found out the truth.


#6    Taun

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:52 PM

It always amazed me as a kid to learn that ancient Romans and Greeks all had British accents...


#7    supervike

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:08 PM

Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles remembered!


#8    CrimsonKing

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:14 PM

View Postsupervike, on 22 March 2013 - 04:08 PM, said:

Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles remembered!

That movie is funny as hell  :lol:

"If it is not advantageous,do not move.If objectives can not be attained,do not employ the army.Unless endangered do not engage in warfare.The ruler cannot mobilize the army out of personal anger.The general can not engage in battle because of personal frustration.When it is advantageous,move;when not advantageous,stop.Anger can revert to happiness,annoyance can revert to joy,but a vanquished state cannot be revived,the dead cannot be brought back to life." Sun-Tzu

#9    Frank Merton

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:16 PM

One of my favorites; especially Lilly vun Strumpp (whatever).


#10    lightly

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:25 PM

View PostTaun, on 22 March 2013 - 01:52 PM, said:

It always amazed me as a kid to learn that ancient Romans and Greeks all had British accents...

  right!   I was surprised to learn that God sounds exactly like John Huston !

Important:  The above may contain errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and other limitations.

#11    Bama13

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:27 PM

View PostTaun, on 22 March 2013 - 12:09 PM, said:

Black cowboys were very prevelant here in Oklahoma... Back way before statehood, when the "Indian Territories" were policed from Fort Smith, Arkansas some of the very best trackers and lawmen who roamed the Indian Territories were black cowboys... The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western heritage Museum here in OKC had an entire section on them - and may still have (I haven't been there in a long time)...

It was Hollywood that "white washed" the image of the cowboy ... There were entire regiments of black cavalry troops as well (the Indians called them "Buffalo Soldiers") many of them served here...

Buffalo Soldiers is a great song by Bob Marley.

" Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything —you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him" - Robert Heinlein

#12    freetoroam

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:52 PM

Factual error: The Roman legionaries are using armor and shields first used over a century later, and there are no transverse crests to mark the many centurions that would have been in each unit

In the 1963 film Cleopatra, for example, Julius Caesar's triumphal procession into Rome in the late first century B.C. marches past the fourth-century A.D. Arch of Constantine!


If they did not worry about these "minor" facts, doubt a black cowboy missing would have worried them.

Edited by freetoroam, 22 March 2013 - 07:54 PM.

In an ideal World a law would be passed were NO guns were allowed and all those out there destroyed, trouble is the law makers are not going to take a risk of trying to pass that without making sure they are armed first.

#13    Taun

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 11:01 PM

There was a popular TV show back in the '50s 60s called "Amos 'n Andy" it was a sitcom about two black men and their families/lives... The show was a continuation of an extremely popular radio show of the same name/story.... What a lot of people did not know was that "Amos" and "Andy" (on the radio) were played by two white guys!....


#14    Collateral Damage

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:02 AM

View PostTaun, on 22 March 2013 - 01:52 PM, said:

It always amazed me as a kid to learn that ancient Romans and Greeks all had British accents...
Many misinterpret fact with what they see on t.v. or in films. Vulgar Latin was the Empire's main language and was eventually replaced by Greek in the 4th century. Also, the Roman Empire managed to occupy England for 400 years. I'd imagine no matter where you had went, even though the language would be primarily the same, accents might have differed. Just as the American misconception of "a" British accent, whereas there is no one accent, and tend to differentiate within various areas.

I only stated this information for those who are uneducated to this subject and might be interested. When many believe so, it is so, and with education that is something we mustn't accept.

Edited by Collateral Damage, 24 March 2013 - 04:13 AM.

Undated letter from J.F.K. said:

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      "The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten."

#15    Myles

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:18 PM

I guess this begs the question:
What is the definition of a cowboy as it is used in this thread?

I assume it's a person who herds cattle west of the Mississippi.    There were thousands of black men who would drive herds (mostly from Texas) east.   Not many trail bosses.   Ex slaves from the south and from Texas found work in the huge cattle industry.  I've read where there were towns that were all black.   I'll have to look up some history on that.   I also remember reading where native americans would often take blacks and sell them to slave traders.   They would also capture run away slaves for the rewards.    It may have been easier for a black man in the west, but they still had it rough.





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