It’s from my mom that I got my love of western movies and film. An avid viewer of “shootemups” in all forms, she’d captivate me with her knowledge of stars from movie serials she’d seen as a young girl; the
same shorts that were making the rerun rounds on television. But it was my dad who filled out the untold story of the black cowboy for me.
Like any child, I wondered about who I was, who we were in reference to what I saw on tv as the depictions of blacks, any type of black people, was very limited at the time. From him, I first heard about Nat Love, a quintessential cowboy figure, and Bill Pickett, the inventor of bulldogging, a version of modern rodeo steer wrestling.
I thought about that and both of them listening to a commercial on MeTv for their Saturday western roundup; an entire day of programming. And since I now know that 1 in 4 American cowboys were black, I couldn’t help but marvel at the slick and subtle manner in which you can not only eradicate the accomplishments of an entire group of people but at the same time reinforce that extinction at the societal level . Continue reading