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Meet 5 Famous Black Cowboys in African American History


How much do you know about the true tales of the American West? Beyond the normal stories of the cowboys riding into the sunset, there’s a rich history that’s worth knowing. If you have ever desired to know the famous black cowboys that left an incredible mark on the frontier, then this article is for you.

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Nat Love (1854 – 1921)

The Story of Nat Love. Video Credit: @countryboi

Born June 14, 1854, Nat Love was an American Cowboy and writer active during the time following the Civil War. Nat Love’s exploits made him one of the most popular heroes of the Old West. 

He was born into slavery on the plantation of Robert Love in Davidson County, Tennessee. But he later moved to Dodge City, Kansas, where he found work as a cowboy with cattle drivers from the Duval Ranch. 

According to his autograph, which you can find on Amazon, Nat endured inclement weather and fought cattle rustlers. He trained himself to become a skilled marksman and cowboy. 

People Also Read: Little Known Black Cowgirls of the Wild West: Top 5

Bill Pickett (1870 – 1971)

Remembering Bill Pickett, Texas Bulldogger. Video Credit: @Wfaa8

Pickett was born in 1870 in the Jenks Branch community of Williamson County, Texas. He was the second of the 13 kids born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former enslaved man.

Bill left school in 5th grade to become a ranch hand. Soon, he started to ride horses and watch the Texas Longhorn steers. 

He invented the bulldogging technique, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horn and wrestling them to the ground. Bill was for his stunts and tricks at the local country fair. He later established The Pickett Brothers Bronco Busters and Rough Riders Association with his four brothers.

Bose Ikard (1847 – 1929)

Chronicle of the Old West – Bose Ikard. Video Credit: @ShowLowTV

Born into slavery around 1847, Bose Ikard was a black cowboy. Bose lived with his master’s family before the Civil War. He became a ranch hand and cowboy as he grew up in Texas after a move from Mississippi where he was originally born. 

On the postwar cattle drives, he was a tracker, a cowboy, and Charles Goodnight’s de facto banker. He usually carries thousands of dollars in cash until the funds can be deposited. 

Bose Ikard settled in Parker County in 1869 after his last cattle drive. He became a farmer in Parker County and raised a family with Angelina, his wife.

People Also Read: Black Cowboys of Texas: Exploring the Untold Story Behind Bold African American Men

Addison Jones (1845 – 1926)

Jones’s birthplace isn’t known, but he was likely born in Hays County or Gonzales, Texas. His cowboy skills made him popular in eastern New Mexico and western Texas. 

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He was known as the most Negro cowboy who ever topped off a horse. Jones was usually mentioned in accounts and memoirs of famous cowboys and cattlemen who worked with him on the Littlefield Ranch (LFD).

His skills at breaking horses and roping made him a notable figure among other cowboys. Get either of these books on Amazon if you would want to read more about Addison Jones.

Robert Lemmons (1848–1947)

Bob Lemmons the mistanger. Video Credit: @Critical-Race-Theory

Texas cowboy Robert Lemons was among the greatest mustangers the world has ever seen. He became famous in his days by mastering his unique technique of catching wild mustang horses.

Robert was born into slavery in Lockport, Caldwell County, Texas in 1848. He gained his freedom at the end of the Civil War when he was seventeen years old.

Then he got a job with Duncan Lemmons, the man who taught him about horses and gave him the surname ‘Robert.’ 

During the cattle drive era of the 1870s and 1880s, no other cowboy came close to Robert in capturing mustangers. He was among the famous African American cowboys with an inspiring life story. You can get his autograph from Amazon to learn more about him.

Over the years, African Americans have had an influence on the cowboy culture in the United States. The five covered here are the widely known ones who left incredible marks. If you want to learn more about the contributions of African Americans to the cowboy culture in the US, check out these books on Amazon

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.


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