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African-American Cowboy - PART 1
Black Cowboy
Video Of Black Cowboys In
Walnut Grove Mississippi

    30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Focuses on the Next Generation of Rural Westerners

    Elko, Nevada—The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is turning 30 in 2014, and the nation’s greatest celebration of the American West, its people, culture and traditions, will turn its focus to the future of the region. Between January 27 and February 1, in Elko, Nevada, the Gathering will present poetry, music, fine western gear, films, workshops, dances and discussions with a clear focus on encouraging the next generation and working together to ensure the sustainability of the occupational and artistic traditions of the rural West.

    30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
    Brigid Reedy and Glenn Ohrlin at the 29th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Photo by Charlie Ekburg.
    The theme of the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is Expressing the Rural West—Into the Future! Through performances of poetry and music, thought-provoking films and fruitful discourse, artists and audiences of all ages will share their art and their opinions on meeting the challenges of rural life in the modern West. In particular, the next generation of cowboy artists will present their work and discuss their brand of ranch life—with one hand on the reins and the other on the cell phone.

    More than 50 poets, musicians and musical groups from the U.S. and Canada will perform on seven stages at four different venues. The 30th Gathering line-up includes cowboy poets Baxter Black, Paul Zarzyski, Waddie Mitchell, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Joel Nelson, Doris Daley, Pat Richardson, Randy Rieman and many others. Music is as integral to the Gathering as poetry; the musical line-up includes Ian Tyson, Michael Martin Murphey, Riders In The Sky, Don Edwards, Dave Stamey, Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, Caleb Klauder Country Band, Martha Scanlan and more. Scroll down for a full list of participating artists and their hometowns. Visit for full bios.

    Special guests this year include renowned animal welfare advocate, professor and author Temple Grandin, who will deliver the keynote address, and Stephanie Davis and her Trail’s End Ranch Radio Show, broadcasting poetry, humor and wisdom from a fictitious radio station on the range. A special exhibition will celebrate the new renaissance of western artistry among young gearmakers and visual artists.

    The Gathering also features hands-on workshops in traditional western arts such as rawhide braiding, cinch-making, hat-making, silverwork, Dutch-oven cooking and more. It also offers three western dances, film screenings, panel discussions and open-mic poetry and music sessions. Tickets to the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering can be purchased at, by calling 775-738-7508, toll-free 888-880-5885, or by stopping in to the Western Folklife Center’s ticket office, 501 Railroad Street, Elko. Western Folklife Center members can purchase tickets beginning at 9:00 am Pacific Time, September 3, 2013, and non-members can purchase tickets beginning Thursday, October 3.

    The 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is produced by the Western Folklife Center and supported by NV Energy, Barrick Gold of North America, Nevada Humanities, Nevada Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Elko Convention and Visitors Authority, the City of Elko, The Bretzlaff Foundation, WESTAF, The Reno Rodeo Foundation, and many more foundations, businesses and individuals.

    The Western Folklife Center is dedicated to exploring, presenting and preserving the diverse and dynamic cultural heritage of the American West. We celebrate the wisdom, artistry and ingenuity of western folkways through exhibitions, educational programs, national radio and television programs, research and preservation projects, our website, and our premier event, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We nurture connections among rural and ranching cultures globally, exploring universal themes in working traditions and artistic expression, which we believe are vital links to the past, present and future of the American West.


    The articles on this website are provided for information purposes only. does not accept any responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the article content on this site or reliance by any person on the site's contents. Use at your own risk.

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    Bass Reeves

    - Bass Reeves (July 1838 – 12 January 1910) was one of the first African Americans (possibly the first) to receive a commission as a Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River. -

    Reeves was born a slave in 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas, and was given the surname of his owner, George Reeves, a farmer and politician. He moved to Paris, Texas with George Reeves. During the American Civil War, Bass parted company with George Reeves: "some say because Bass beat up George after a dispute in a card game. Others believe that Bass heard too much about the 'freeing of slaves' and simply ran away." Bass Reeves fled north into the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and lived with the Seminole and Creek Indians.

    Bass Reeves
    Reeves became a crack shot with a pistol. Later Reeves moved to Arkansas and homesteaded near Van Buren. Once he got his farm going, he married Nellie Jennie from Texas. They had ten children – five boys and five girls. Reeves and his family farmed until 1875 when the legendary Isaac Parker was appointed federal judge for the Indian Territory. Judge Parker appointed James F. Fagan as U.S. Marshal, and directed him to hire 200 deputy U.S. Marshals. Fagan heard about Bass Reeves, who knew the Indian Territory and could speak several Indian languages, and recruited him as a deputy U.S. Marshal.

    Reeves worked a total of thirty-two years as a Federal peace officer in the Indian Territory. He was one of Judge Parker's most valued deputies. He arrested some of the most dangerous criminals of the time, but was never shot (despite having his hat and belt shot off on separate occasions). He had to arrest his own son for murder.

    Reeves was an expert with rifle and pistol. During his long career he developed superior detective skills. When he retired from Federal service in 1907, Reeves had arrested over 3,000 felons. Reeves admitted having to shoot and kill fourteen outlaws in defending his life while making arrests.When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, Reeves, then 68, became an officer of the Muskogee, Oklahoma police department.

    Reeves was himself once charged with murdering a posse cook. At his trial (before Judge Parker), Reeves was represented by former United States Attorney W. H. H. Clayton, who had been his colleague and good friend, and was acquitted. Reeves' health failed in 1910, and he died of Bright's disease on 12 January. He was the uncle of Paul L. Brady, the first African-American appointed a Federal Administrative Law Judge (in 1972).

    In 2007, the U.S. Route 62 bridge crossing the Arkansas River between Muskogee and Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, was named the Bass Reeves Memorial Bridge in Reeves' honor. On May 16, 2012 a bronze statue of Reeves by sculptor Harold Holden, of Enid, Oklahoma, was cast at a foundry in Norman, Oklahoma, and then transported to its permanent location at Pendergraft Park in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

    In popular culture
    Reeves figures prominently in an episode of How It's Made in which a Bass Reeves limited edition collectors' figurine is shown in various stages of the production process. Bass Reeves, a fictionalized film of his life and career was released by Ponderous Productions of San Antonio in 2010. Bass Reeves is also mentioned in passing in episode 2 of season 3 of Justified (TV series), along with other US Marshals of distinction Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp. Morgan Freeman has expressed interest in playing Reeves in a motion picture about his life. Reeves' story has also been presented to kids. Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award for best author.


    The articles on this website are provided for information purposes only. does not accept any responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of the article content on this site or reliance by any person on the site's contents. Use at your own risk.

    No Implied Endorsement: does not endorse or recommend any article on this site or any product, service or information found within said articles. The views and opinions of the authors who have submitted articles to belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of


  1. African-American Cowboys ...
    By Dr. Richard W. Slatta, Professor of History, North Carolina State University.

  2. A Hotlist on Black Cowboys ...
    An Internet Hotlist on Black Cowboys.

  3. Bay Area Cowboys and Cowgirls ...
    Bay Area Cowboys and Cowgirls website. What you get to really enjoy as a "Real cowboy or Cowgirl". This sport and livelyhood is natural and raw.

  4. Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo ...
    The Cowboys and Cowgirls participate in one or more events. The exitement, skills, talent and nerves from these participants represents the spirit of the west and the rich heritage of Black Americans.

  5. Black Cowboys - Part 1 ...
    Excerpt from the book, "Negro on the American Frontier".

  6. Black Cowboys - Part 2...
    Black Cowboys also worked on the ranches and rode the cattle trails.

  7. Black Cowboys...
    The Premiere Black Cowboys Site on the Internet. Awarded by the Texas Historical Commission.

  8. Black Cowboys and Pioneers...
    Text-only overview of the topic, by Kenneth Wiggins Porter. Excerpt from the book, "Negro on the American Frontier."

  9. Black Cowboys...
    Learn the role of the Black Cowboy of times past.

  10. Black Cowboys...
    Aase Zori compiled this list according to the suggestions supplied by Child_list listserv members.

  11. Black Pioneers...
    Black Pioneers, Settlers, Cowboys and Outlaws.

  12. Cowboys & Cowgirls...
    Links to Black Cowboy sites.

  13. Fort Worth Cowboys of Color...
    We all tend to think of cowboys from black and white television series as only white guys. This museum has photos and artwork that shows that life on the frontier was more diverse than TV or even text books show us.

  14. Handbook of Texas Online: Black Cowboys...
    Learn how Black cowboys have been part of Texas history since the early nineteenth century, when they first worked on ranches throughout the state.

  15. Mike Johnson...
    Mike Johnson, Country Music's No.1 Black Yodeler, will be 62 years old this year. Johnson has been performing since the mid-1960s, was inducted into the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002, and his Yodel Song Archives 114 yodeling songs written & composed by him] were included in the Recorded Sound Reference Center's permanent music collection at the Library of Congress in March 2007.

  16. RCA Black Rodeo...
    Not only is it an entertainment, but it also represents the African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic, Caucasians and others in a multi-cultural rodeo sport.

  17. Real Cowboy Association...
    Rodeo tours, the hottest in the south!

  18. Reggae Cowboys...
    The Reggae Cowboys' name came from Stone's fascination with the role of African-Americans in settling the West in the 1800's.

  19. Rex Purefoy...
    Rex Purefoy, America's favorite cowboy.

  20. The Black Cowboy Parade...
    Always held the first Saturday of October, the Black Cowboy Parade is an exciting historic part of Oakland, California.

  21. Today's Black Cowboys and Cowgirls...
    Groups that Keep The Black West Alive.

    "Sistas N Arms"
    By Dwight Juda Ward
    Size 24x36 open edition
    to order copies please call 718-531-6431 or 718-501-8614


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