Smithsonian: The Lesser-Known History of African-American Cowboys

In his 1907 autobiography, cowboy Nat Love recounts stories from his life on the frontier so cliché, they read like scenes from a John Wayne film. He describes Dodge City, Kansas, a town smattered with the romanticized institutions of the frontier: “a great many saloons, dance halls, and gambling houses, and very little of anything else.” He moved massive herds of cattle from one grazing area to another, drank with Billy the Kid and participated in shootouts with Native peoples defending their land on the trails. And when not, as he put it, “engaged in fighting Indians,” he amused himself with activities like “dare-devil riding, shooting, roping and such sports.”

Though Love’s tales from the frontier seem typical for a 19th-century cowboy, they come from a source rarely associated with the Wild West. Love was African-American, born into slavery near Nashville, Tennessee. Read more herenatlove.jpg__800x600_q85_crop_subject_location-581,183.jpg.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/lesser-known-history-african-american-cowboys-180962144/#ccyhzWiRBZ0jAwoR.99
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