The earliest evidence of African Americans as cattle herders (cowboys) in North America can be traced back to colonial South Carolina, where stock grazers from what is now Senegal in. West Africa were specifically brought to that colony because of their unique skills. Over the decades the cattle industry, and enslaved Africans who worked it, migrated across the South and reached Texas by the 1850s. With one third of the state’s population comprising enslaved workers, African Americans were the majority of cowboys in Texas in the early 1850s. Enslaved cowboys were assigned the task of catching and tending wild cattle in the Gulf Coast brush country. Working with vaqueros who migrated north from Mexico, these herders often drove long trains of steers led by oxen and trailed by baying dogs.
This series of drawings celebrates that legacy and history.
Provenance: Handsigned and dated
Dimensions: 14.8cm x 21cm
Medium: Crayon and mixed medium with wax seal.
Paper: Fabriano Hot pressed
Year created: 2019
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