Limited Edition: Black Cowboys
Representation is radical. Shit, I could probably stop there... but I won't. When you think of cowboys, you think of John Wayne or Yellowstone. Admit it. There's a lot more to it than that and there are a shit load of cowboys and cowgirls who look nothing John Wayne yet are 100% wranglin' sons a ...well, you know.
Look, representation of community and fellow hard working legends is not just important, it's necessary. Recognize your neighbor, love them and respect them - especially if they came before you and paved a heavy path. I could say a lot about Black Cowboys and the American Dream as I was always hopeful that I would be a cowboy, like my Uncle who runs his own Northern California Ranch and is a Black Cowboy but I went a different path and I cowboy in a different way. That said, we had to make some art loving on my heritage and obsession with surf, skate and cowboy attitude so here's a Black Cowboy gettin rowdy on a tube on a skateboard.
Its a killer hill bombing, jib a rail, pocket shape and we highly recommend scoring one.
Original artwork by Dane Danner.
Only a very limited run of units produced.
A Brief History
Texas, the 19th century, prior to the abolition of slavery in the United States is where we can trace the history of the Black Cowboy in America.
Before Texas was part of the US, it was controlled by the Spanish and later Mexico, and during its time under Mexican governance its proximity to other US states, water, and attractive land prices enticed white Americans seeking a new life and opportunities to migrate. Some of these white Americans brought with them enslaved people despite the Mexican government's oppsoition to the practice of slavery. Due to this migration 25% of Texas' population was made up of enslaved people by 1825.
Fast forward to 1860, Texas now accounts for one of the US state stars and became part of the union, until the start of the Civil War in April 1861 when Texas pledged its allegiance to the Confederacy. During the Civil War Texas ranchers and land owners left home to pick up arms against the Union army, in doing so they relied on their slaves to tend their property and cattle providing enslaved people the opportunities to learn all of the skills necessary to run and manage a working ranch.
After the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in January 1864 and the Civil War ended in April 1865, the now freed Black population in Texas, estimated to be 30% of the state's total population, had freshly acquired skills and the right, for the first time, to decide how they might utilize and capitalize on such.
Here continues the story of the Black Cowboy, an fascinating and brave history of Black people in the US who accounted for 1 in 4 cowboys but whose stories have largely been ignored or underdeveloped in popular culture. Today, we honor the cowboys of color that came before us, and each of their stories.
Should you like to learn more about Black Cowboys, we recommend the following sources: Smithsonian Magazine, Oakland Black Cowboy Association's Reading List, Black Cowboys Podcast, Compton Cowboys. Have resources to share with Imperfects? Feel welcome to hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credits: An African-American cowboy sits saddled on his horse in Pocatello, Idaho in 1903. Corbis.
Nat Love, African American cowboy with lariat and saddle. From his privately published autobiography (1907). Wikimedia Commons.
Bill Pickett invented "bulldogging," a rodeo technique to wrestle a steer to the ground. Corbis.