The Original Cowboys

One in every four cowboys was believed to be a Black man released from slavery despite the stories told in popular books and movies although the most famous cowboys of the old west were white.

Bill Pickett

Bill Pickett (1871-1932), rodeo performer. World famous black cowboy Bill Pickett “Dusky Demon” invented the rodeo sport, bulldogging (steer wrestling).

Dangerfield Newby

Dangerfield Newby (1820-1859), is the actual man on which the movie D’Jango Unchained is loosely based. He was a member of the John Brown raiders. He joined the gang to save his wife, Harriet and children from slavery.

Jesse Stahl

Jesse Stahl (1879-1935), cowboy and rodeo star. Jesse is considered the greatest of all bronco riders by many rodeo enthusiasts. In a time when a bronc rider rode a horse until it stood still, Jesse became a legend and set the bar for bronc-riding during the 1912 Salinas Rodeo.

Isom Dart

Isom Dart (1849-1900), originally known as Ned Huddleston, gained a reputation as a late 19th Century Wyoming Territory outlaw. He had many aliases including “Black Fox,” “Tan Mex,” and “Calico Cowboy”.

Nat Love, aka Deadwood Dick

Nat Love, aka Deadwood Dick (1854-1921), cowboy and saddler Nate earned the nickname “Deadwood Dick” after winning a rodeo in South Dakota. As he tells it, he could hit anything within range of his Colt .45 revolvers or Winchester Model rifle, but killed only out of self-defense.

Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves (1838-1910), lawman and deputy U.S. marshal. Bass Reeves was the first African American commissioned to serve as a deputy marshal west of the Mississippi River. He brought to justice over 3,000 criminals and killed fourteen outlaws during his years as a marshal.

George Fletcher

George Fletcher (1890-1973), rodeo star and cowboy. George Fletcher was the first Black cowboy to compete for a world championship in bronco riding at the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up, Oregon’s largest rodeo.

Robert Lemmons

Robert Lemmons (1848-1947), was one of the greatest mustangers of all time. He became a legend in his day by perfecting his unique method of catching wild mustang horses.

{This post was written by @AfricanArchives}

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