Why the first US cowboys were black


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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/

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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

https://www.dazeddigital.com/politics/article/49615/1/black-cowboys-black-lives-matter-protests-compton-united-states

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

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21768669

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47 Comments

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  1. Cultural appropriation. First Ancient Egypt, merely because it was on the continent of North Africa. Nowadays, somebody else's hair. Next we'll be hearing they built the Grand Ole Opry. It is one thing to share a culture as fellow Americans, but something else entirely to claim invention. When it comes to the horse, doesn't credit go to Spain? Weren't they the first to import horsemanship to the Americas?

  2. Why is the Guardian obsessed with race? Why is everything you talk about related to race? Are you in capable of running a piece of 'news' that somehow doesn't run on a certain skin colour? I'm Hispanic and I couldn't care less about any of this.

  3. Caballeros existed in North America before any other "cowboys". Horses were used to establish supply routes and move supplies all throughout California. In the late 1700s and early 1800s. Spain and Mexico owned, farmed and ran horses and cattle in the western territories. Black and white cowboys modeled themselves after caballeros.

  4. its just kind of annoying how i only subscribed to this channel to get uk news and instead i only get racial topics from america. and then other countries make fun of americans for thinking we "make everything about us"

  5. Funny how it’s always white peoples histories that you people decide to tamper with and alter. Never anyone else. Mozart? Black. Ancient Scottish and Irish kings? Black. Shakespeare? Black. William the conqueror? Black. Your people’s intentions are transparent. Erase our history and make us feel shame for being born white. But of course there’s no agenda.

  6. Just one more American myth that has been stolen. Greatest archetype of American politics is the lone cowboy riding into town to bring justice to the frontier. And he would have been black. Just let that marinate.

  7. “Cowboys” is Mexican colloquium:

    Here’s a little history lesson, the cowboy played an important role during the era of U.S. westward expansion. Though they originated in Mexico, American anglo-Saxons mimic the styles and the culture from the Mexican rancheros by created a style and reputation what is seen in today’s
    American culture.

    Vaqueros:
    In 1519, shortly after the Spanish arrived in the Americas, they began to build ranches to raise cattle and other livestock. Horses were imported from Spain and put to work on the ranches.

    Mexico’s native cowboys were called vaqueros, which comes from the Spanish word vaca (cow). Vaqueros were hired by ranchers to tend to the livestock and were known for their superior roping, riding and herding skills.
    By the early 1700s, ranching made its way to present-day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and as far south as Argentina. When the California missions started in 1769, livestock practices were introduced to more areas in the West.

    During the early 1800s, many English-speaking settlers migrated to the West and adopted aspects of the vaquero culture, including their clothing style and cattle-driving methods.
    Cowboys came from diverse backgrounds and included African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans and settlers from the eastern United States and Europe.

    Now here’s a little history lesson that you didn’t know but now you know.

  8. What rubbish. Sure there were Afroamericans cowboys but the first cowboys were MEXICANS starting in the 1500s. Who taught the Afroamericans??? Really. Talk about cherry picking.

  9. Thanks for this amazing and informative video. I feel a bit odd now calling a black person on a horse a "cowboy"…

    Anyway, I feel some sort of quote, or reference to "Blazing Saddles" would have been appropriate in this somewhere…

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