The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61966 Message #999178
Posted By: katlaughing
08-Aug-03 - 07:22 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Whose Old Cow (N. Howard Thorp)
Subject: RE: 19th century black cowboy rap
Q, this book doesn't give percentages, but they also say that there were a number throughout the Southwest and on up into Colorado and Wyoming. They also talk about how much acceptance there was for them among cowboys, in particular Texas.
At one point in the book, to my surprise judging by today's discrimination in Wyoming, they point out that the finest hotel in Cheyenne was "owned and oeprated by a B.M. Ford, a Negro." And that it was the center of social life in the early days there. "There seems to have been comparitively little anti-Negro prejudice in Wyoming. Cheyenne's first school, for instance, was built at the same time as the Ford House and dedicated on January 5, 1868. The best citizens gathered there for the dedication, crowding together while the thermometer dropped to twenty-three degrees below zero. They were proud of having established a school that would be open to all rich or poor, black or white. Ten years later Cheyenne continued to show the same disregard for most racial and religious differences: The Catholics held fairs and festivals to raise money for church work. The Ladies Sewing Society of the Congregational Church sewed for the needy. Jewish residents celebrated Yom Kippur with much ceremony. Colored voters organized a political club and nominated one of their members, W. J. Hardin, a popular barber, to the territorial legislature. Hardin was elected and served with credit."
They say a lot more, esp. about the Texas area. And they do point out that a lot of the black cowboys who rode trail were relegated to the harder, dirtier tasks. They also point out that most were former slaves.
Great postings, ya'll. Thanks!