Black in the West

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They were cowboys... like Nat Love.

Nat Love was one of the most famous cowboys in the Old West. He first worked for the Duval Outfit in Texas and then moved on to the Gallinger Ranch in Arizona. It was while working for the Gallinger Ranch that he went on a cattle drive to Deadwood, South Dakota in 1876. While there Love won a cowboy contest which involved roping, bridling, saddling, and shooting. He won every element of the contest. The prize was $200. Plus, he earned the nickname "Deadwood Dick."

"In my fighting clothes." From the book The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, 1907. Photograph ca. 1890s. Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library, neg #: Z-147.

A black cowboy, ca, 1890. Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library , neg #: X-21563





Of course most cowboys weren't famous like Nat Love. They were just hardworking men like the man to the left.



They were also settlers, part of the great westward migration from the eastern United States. They traveled in covered wagons and on foot, along with white pioneers. One example is the Shores family who settled in Nebraska. Here they pose in front of their sod home in 1887.


But the history of Blacks in the West is about so much more than cowboys and settlers. Keep exploring... NEXT


Photo by Solomon Butcher, courtesy Nebraska Historical Society.

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