Ten years ago, D.C. musician Dom Flemons was traveling to visit family back home in Arizona when he pulled over to a gift shop at the side of Route 66. While looking around, something caught his eye.
Sitting on the shelf was The Negro Cowboys, a 1965 history novel written by UCLA professors Philip Durham and Everett L. Jones. As he skimmed through it, Flemons was introduced to a world he never knew existed.
“Philip Durham was an English teacher, and discovered statistics showing that about one-fourth of the cowboys that settled the West were African American cowboys,” said Flemons. “Being a big fan of country music and cowboy music in Arizona, I was surprised to see this because I hadn’t seen much imagery of black cowboys in mainstream movies or music.”
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