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Fort Worth Flashback: Lives of black cowboys tell story of skill, grit

Posted Feb. 4, 2013

In honor of Black History Month, each week in February Fort Worth Flashback will take a look at the role of African-American residents in our city’s history.

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African-American cowhands regularly worked side by side with Mexican vaqueros and Anglo cowboys. But black cowboys often had to survive discrimination, bigotry and prejudice.

Black cowhands did what was necessary to gain the trust and respect of those who controlled their destiny. That meant being the best — at roping, bronc busting, taming mustangs or calling the brands.

Among the heroes were Peter Martin, who hauled freight and assisted insurgents in a rebellion against the Mexican government while building a large herd of cattle; Bose Ikard, a friend of Charles Goodnight, who went on Goodnight’s first cattle drive and opened the Goodnight-Loving Trail; and Johanna July, a black Seminole woman who had her own method of taming horses in the Rio Grande for the soldiers at Fort Duncan.

Black cowhands played an important role that has been largely unreported in most history books.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. July 23, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, Second Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

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