“Black Cowboys” is the new album from multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Dom Flemons, a co-founding member of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. But it’s more than a collection of songs from the Wild West — the record sheds light on the prominent but often-overlooked role African-American pioneers played in westward expansion.
On the role black cowboys played in westward expansion
“During that period, you have a really unique experience that happened in the African-American community, because this is halfway between where the end of slavery happened, emancipation was gained, and then also there was the Reconstruction era in the South. And you had this movement of African-American people going out West to try to find independent wages outside of the old system of sharecropping, which retained many aspects of slave work. And with that you start finding that all these unique cultures start to bloom, and in the African-American community, you have places like Oklahoma, which has a lot of all-black towns that sprung up between I guess the 1870s to the 1920s.”