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Ohelemapit

America's forgotten black cowboys

16 posts in this topic

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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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...

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Hollywood also shaved them.

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Posted (edited)

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
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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.

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

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Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles remembered!

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Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles remembered!

That movie is funny as hell :lol:

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

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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 !

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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.

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Posted (edited)

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
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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!....

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Posted (edited)

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
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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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Many former slaves became cowboys after the Civil War. Some of the best ranch hands and rodeo stars were Black. I read an interesting anecdote about the Buffalo Soldiers. Some of them were Freemasons, and they left Masonic symbols where some paranormal events took place.

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