In Honor of Black History Month, We Remember the Forgotten Cowboy!
The John M. Pfau Library invites you to view our display, “The Forgotten Cowboy” on the first floor by the staircase leading to the 2nd floor. In popular culture, cowboys are equated with lawlessness. They rob trains and stagecoaches. They ride into town with guns blazing. They have drunken bar fights. Most of the men who engaged in these activities were actually outlaws, not cowboys. According to the New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language, a cowboy is a “…boy who has charge of cows; a man who looks after cattle on a large stock farm and does his work on horseback.”
Black cowboys lived hard lives, but still enjoyed a more dignified existence than those who experienced the emergence of the Jim Crowe laws. They worked on ranches herding and branding cattle, and rode the trails from Texas northward to grasslands or railheads on the plains. They had the same job as their white counterparts but this history was erased with time (McRae, “Black Cowboys”).
Black cowboys are legendary African American figures who drove great cattle herds across the early West, whose images are unfortunately missing from popular culture (“Black Cowboys”).
Stop by to view some of those missing images and enjoy the display!