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America's black cowboys fight for their place in history By Matthew Ponsford, for CNN Ferguson.

Black Culture, redefinedcool: Black Cowboy Clean

There were a lot of African American cowboys. Some of them very famous in their time. They have been left out of the history books. Also to be noted, only men of color or minorities were called cowboys. Whites were "cowmen".

Contrary to Hollywood, black slaves were America’s 1st cowboys. The word cowboy, originally had nothing to do w-roping cattle & hell-raising in the high plains. The word 'cowboy' grew out of social customs that did not allow black males to be addressed as 'mister' or 'men'. 'Boy,' was a derogatory term for a black male that included "cowboy,”, "house boy,” “field boy,” “stable boy". Thousands of black cowboys were lawmen, Buffalo soldiers, ranchers, farmers. Few are found in history books.

1913 Black History Album, The Way We Were. At least 1 in 4 cowboys in the west, were African American, Native American or Mexican.

black cowboy

Jean Depara, photographer in Leopoldville / Kinshasa from 1951 to 1975 of outside-nights between 1955 - during independence of the former Belgian Congo

Most stylish black cowgirls at the Bill Pickett Rodeo in Atlanta

Most stylish black cowgirls at the Bill Pickett Rodeo in Atlanta

Rodeo clown Leon Coffee is in the hospital with meningitis. Our Thoughts and Prayers go out to Leon & his family.

It's not a rodeo without a lil "Coffee" - Leon Coffee Elgin Tx rodeo 2011

April 26, 1798 James Beckwourth a mountain man, trapper, fur trader who was born of a white plantation owner and slave woman. He was later manumitted and regarded as free. Beckwourth forged an alliance with the Crow Indians and was a member of the tribe. Marrying 2 Blackfoot women and operating a trading post.

Jim Beckwourth, exploration and settlement of American West. only African American who recorded his life story and adventures from everglades to Pacific Ocean and Canada to Mexico.

“People are interested in cowboys wherever you go, whether it be Australia, [Japan, Great Britian, France, or Spain],” McDonald said. “Everybody has got that romantic image. We show some of that romance and we show the reality alongside it.”

theGRIO REPORT - British photographer John Ferguson and filmmaker Gregg MacDonald explore the untold history of African-American cowboys in the documentary 'The Forgotten Cowboys'.