Black cowboy and horse

Harwood Museum

Outriders: Legacy of the Black Cowboy

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October 15, 2022 – May 7, 2023

Outriders: Legacy of the Black Cowboy is an exercise in unearthing images of the drovers, fiddlers, cowpunchers, cattle rustlers, cooks, singers, bulldogers, and bronc busters with African heritage in the American South. This exhibition will balance historical narratives and archival photographs depicting life and work of the cattle drivers from the years immediately before the Civil War through the turn of the 20th century, with contemporary responses from artists demonstrating Black individuals’  embodiment of the cowboy figure, a powerful symbol of American independence and pride. Outriders expands our idea of what constitutes an American icon and legacy, thus complicating a narrative woven deep into our popular culture.
It’s estimated by multiple sources that one in four cowboys were Black.

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