In the extensive and incredibly informative 40-page booklet that accompanies Dom Flemonslatest album ‘Black Cowboys’ (Smithsonian Folkways), on which he pays tribute to the music, culture, and the complex history of the golden era of the Wild West, he quotes from an interview with professor and author Mike Searles from a 2010 NPR interview:
“Many people see the West as the birthplace of America. If they only see it as the birthplace of white America, it means basically that all other people are interlopers—they’re not part of what makes an American. But if they understand that African Americans were cowboys, even Native Americans were cowboys, Mexicans were cowboys, it really opens the door for us to think about America as a multiethnic, multiracial place. Not just in the last decade or century, but from the very beginning.”
The liner notes are filled with history and some incredible images, some of which are family photos from Dom Flemons’s personal collection, historical photos from various archives, and tintype photographs shot by Timothy Duffy including one of Dom’s wife Vania Kinard who “brings to life a striking black western woman.”
Read more here.