January 23, 2022

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Why the first US cowboys were black

Historians estimate that one in four cowboys were African American, though you’d never guess because the conventional Hollywood image of a cowboy is a white man. Black cowboys have been written out of history, along with the original cattle-raising Native Americans and Mexican vaqueros who taught them. So what are the real origins of cowboy culture in the US? And is there more to modern black cowboy culture than Old Town Road and Lil Nas X? Josh Toussaint-Strauss talks to some of the Black riders who are keeping the history of Black cowboy culture alive

Brianna’s Mulatto Meadows ► https://www.mulattomeadows.com/humble
Larry’s Black Cowboy Museum ► http://www.blackcowboymuseum.org/
Randy’s Compton Cowboys ► https://www.comptoncowboys.com/

Subscribe to The Guardian on YouTube ► http://is.gd/subscribeguardian

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Today in Focus podcast ► https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/todayinfocus

Sign up for the Guardian documentaries newsletter ► https://www.theguardian.com/info/2016/sep/02/sign-up-for-the-guardian-documentaries-update

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Guardian Football ► http://is.gd/guardianfootball
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Guardian Culture ► http://is.gd/guardianculture

Further reading:

For the Compton Cowboys, Horseback Riding Is a Legacy, and Protection ► https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/31/us/compton-cowboys-horseback-riding-african-americans.html

Evoking History, Black Cowboys Take to the Streets ► https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/us/black-cowboys-protests-compton.html

The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America’s Urban Heartlandhttps://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-compton-cowboys-walter-thompson-hernandez?variant=32231860535330

Where have all the black cowboys gone? ► https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/mar/11/where-have-all-the-black-cowboys-gone

Black ranching frontiers ► https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300179927/black-ranching-frontiers

Black cowboys: Creole trail rides showcase unique culture ► https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/sep/21/creole-cowboys-calvert-texas-louisiana

The black cowboys of Mississippi ► https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2019/feb/15/the-black-cowboys-of-mississippi-in-pictures


The lesser known history of African American cowboys ► https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/lesser-known-history-african-american-cowboys-180962144/


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