Book That Depicts Usa In The World Cup The Colour of The Old West

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The Colour of The Old West

One Saturday afternoon, while watching old black and white westerns on TV, I thought about the real cowboys of the 17th and 19th centuries – their real physical makeup… their real character(s) and lifestyle. I wondered why black cowboys weren’t portrayed…or talked about…on television. I wondered why as youngsters we cheered for character actors like John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Buster Crabb, Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter and many others who came to the rescue of the homesteaders. We pleased the cavalry by blowing their trumpets as they rode in to save the day. They saved the forts, the women and children, the townspeople and saved the flocks every Saturday and Sunday in the cinema and on television.

They also killed and massacred Indians…Native Americans…Real Americans who…(Original Home Land Security) have been fighting terrorism since 1492. They good guys have killed hundreds of thousands in the name of posterity and the betterment of white America…and we cheered.

We, as young and black moviegoers, book readers, and TV viewers, rooted for the guys in the white hats who got the girl and rode off into the sunset… rooting for an all-white cast of heroes and heroines . Were there no heroes of color? When Chuck Conners played Big Chief Geronimo, we cheered. Charles Bronson characterized Chato…we cheered. We wept profusely for the Cheyenne when they were captured and driven. Why didn’t we stop supporting white casts back then…especially when we realized there was a big difference in racial makeup?

Later, in the 1960s, we got Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte from “Buck and The Preacher. They were two black characterizations of pioneers who interacted with Native Americans. Fair trade and mutual respect prevailed in this kinship. Brother Jim Brown was another role model. , who we all looked up to. He got the girl and some freedom too. Even if they manage to find a way to kill the brother before the picture ends. Where was the mainstream Black Cowboy the heroes who taught the white cowboys how to be cowboys? They taught them to ride on the roping… steer the match and bulldog.Current and past rodeo shows rarely have a black cowboy on their treats… Black Cowboys had to create their own rodeo show(s) yesterday and today.

They told us that Bill Pickett and Willis Meade (remember Lonesome Dove?) were white, when they were known to actually be black… and we believed them. Have you ever seen movies and TV shows where army units and wagons use boy scouts who were always white? Did you stop and wonder how these white frontiersmen came to know the lay of the land? How were they able to communicate with the Indian war parties when all they ever did was to bring carnage, ruin and death to these noble people?

The Black Man and the (so-called) Red Man were actually related! Have you ever thought about your friend who told you about their Indian relatives… their grandparents… their great-grandparents? Many of us passed it off as a belief that they wanted to be identified as other than black—they didn’t want to be black. People would say things like – “they’re not Indian, they just don’t want to be black because they have heads like diapers and they want to be like white people.” We have heard many claims that they are Cherokee, Seminole or Black Feet children. Many of us didn’t believe it…guess what? I have news for you…we were wrong – dead wrong! Not trusting them was another of the misguided ways and legacy of disenfranchisement denied to us by European descendants who claimed this land as their own. We as black Americans have more Native American bloodline than you would think…or want to believe.

William L. Katz, author of forty books, resident scholar at Teachers College of Columbia University, consultant to the Smithsonian Institute of New York City, has conducted extensive research into the history of the “Black Indians.” Mr. Katz’s works include studies and writings on the Black West, Black Women of the Old West, and the African American Slave Resistance. It has some enlightening information and data that confirms our Red, Black, Asian, Latino, Native American and White bloodlines.

The Old West, as recounted by white European American history books, refused to acknowledge the fact of black contributions (besides slave labor) to the West in America, as well as other aspects of nation-building efforts and endeavors.

Many old (and new) Western movies and TV shows used black names…but given to white characters. William “Bill” Pickett (“The Dusky Demon”), Bose (Boise) Ikard, George Monroe, William Robinson, Willis Meade – aka Willis Peoples of Meade, Kansas, and Pvt. George Washington were just a few of the famous black frontiersmen-pioneers who were graced with the use of the name by white film and television actors and filmmakers.

“Most black Indians today do not live in the forests or on the wide plains of the US. Most do not live on government reservations set aside for Native Americans any more than most Indians. To be sure, the Shine Cock Reserves on New York’s Long Island are crowded. But many more walk the crowded streets of nearby New York City. They are found in abundance in Cement Caverns in Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, Cleveland and Detroit,” says Katz.

Tourists visiting Oklahoma City, Oklahoma can see a memorial to Black Cowboy Bill Pickett at the Cowboy Hall of Fame. Known as the “Dusky Demon,” Pickett is credited with inventing the sport of “bulldogging” and was a star on the 101 Ranch Show. Bill Miller, the owner of the ranch, considered Pickett the best cowman he had ever known. Pickett died in 1935. The “Goodnight Trail” was a route taken by huge herds of oxen. Charles Goodnight, a white man, owned the herds. The trail ran from Texas through New Mexico to railroad centers in Colorado. Boise Ikard was the cowboy Goodnight depended on the most to get her herd to market. The black cowboy not only saved the lives of the owners of the herd, but also the entire crew of cowboys. He saved a cowboy crew when a herd of cattle ran amok and suddenly stampeded. Goodnight erected a monument to Ikard, his friend, after his death in 1929.

The Pony Express was started in 1860. It allowed mail to go as far west as San Francisco, California. Letters from the East went as far as the railroad could carry them, St. Joseph Missouri. From that point on, a number of skilled riders carried the mail in relays as far as Sacramento, California. Rider and horse traveled about seventy-five miles. They needed a lot of stamina to do the service. George Monroe, one of the Black Pony Express Riders, carried the mail from Merced to Mary Sosa, California. Another Black Rider was William Robinson. His journey led from Stockton to the gold mining regions. The sight of the Pony Express Rider was a welcome sight. It didn’t matter if the rider was white or black. Mail from home was a very welcome sight in all parts of the west. Brother Willis “Meade” Peoples was a black rancher from Meade, Kansas who gained local fame when he tracked down and killed the infamous predator “Two-Toes”. “Two-Toed” was a wolf that killed many livestock in the area. Private George Washington was a member of the famous All-Black 10th Cavalry. He was represented to join in the capture of “Billy the Kid”. Washington convinced Billy to meet with lawman Lew Wallace.

These stalwart heroes and American contributors could and should be role models for all—black, white, Asian, Latina, Mexican, Native American, etc.—children and adults alike, as opposed to an all-white cast of characters.

“Citizens celebrate the bold secession of this country from colonial rule and rejoice in the brave minute men who challenged the British at Lexington and Concord. But a month before those historic skirmishes on the road to freedom, other Americans pursued the same goal. Slaves in Ulster County, New York, planned a massive armed uprising. They may have heard rousing patriotic speeches about freedom and independence. Their liberation plot included slaves in Kingston, Hurley, Marble town, and over five hundred Native Americans. A shot was not heard around the world, their bold plot never reached America nor European history books.’

On March 5, 1770, Crispus Attucks, a Black Natick Indian, made a dramatic entry into American history in Boston, Katz says. “He was the first to fall in the Boston Massacre. Attucks turned into a Nantucket Indian. It seemed wrong to place an African-American with Indian blood in the first moment of American independence,” says Benson J. Lossing. Historians of America and Europe knew that African Americans had a history and refused to acknowledge or record it. With few weapons, alliances between black and (so-called) red people in the forests challenged the footholds Europeans had built in the Western Hemisphere, Katz says. “Using guerilla tactics that would make China and Vietnam famous in our own country, they defeated Red and Black forces and better-equipped foreign armies. They did it while keeping their families out of harm’s way. These dark liberators often proved that European government in America meant a thin layer of white paint over a seething dark empire.”

In the movies, generations of young minds were trained to think of life on the American frontier as a saga of white gallantry—John Wayne cowboys whipping Indians to give us the USA, while children of all races rejoiced in a served version of the frontier every Saturday afternoon.

I agree with Katz, I too believe in a real wilderness where two Dark Completed People met and often united. They were not drawn together by some special kinship based on skin color – European enemies unwittingly arranged meetings…using both. Mr. Katz and I also agree that the retelling of our (American) western history, Africans and Native Americans, separately and together, fought bravely for an America they knew was also theirs…ours. Perhaps the story of African Americans and Native Americans was trampled by their bitter European enemies. Sidney Poitier, Mario Van Peebles, and other great black and Native American actors, producers, creators, and filmmakers got it right—so can the American and European history books.

See you next time…

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