Home > Free Essays > History > African American Studies > African-American Studies: Black Cowboys

African-American Studies: Black Cowboys Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Apr 16th, 2020


The common definition of the term cowboy is an animal handler mainly a herder. The term may also have a link to men who engaged livestock, mainly cattle in an approximate three-mile trip from the ranches of Texas through dangerous terrains over hundreds of miles to North America.

These countryside people were historically common highlights on North American ranches because of their style of looking after cattle while on horsebacks. History indicates that the Cowboys had numerous other functions that have a close connection to national governing responsibilities besides herding at the ranches. Today we recognize the historically black American cowboy as a legend because of various special connotations traceable to the late nineteenth century.


The Black cowboys consisted of various groups such as the “Wrangler,” who comprised of a common subtype cowboy, whose tasks were specifically riding on horsebacks to guide plowing cattle in the fields (Billington and Hardaway, 1998).

Almost all Black cowboys participated in competitions besides the ranch-related tasks. Unlike the nineteenth century, today there are cowgirls who have a strong establishment due to there ability to perform various tasks or completive achievements, with considerable respect just like the male counterparts.

The black cowboys were common ranch workers, but other early Black people also had various engagements such as mining, homesteaders, blacksmiths, soldiers, and other professional jobs. As idealized by the movies, books, comics, or pictures, Black cowboys are therefore legendary African Americans who represent the country due to their courage, independence, and hard work.

Historical Perspective

For a long while, African Americans provided services but remained unrecognized and unappreciated. They were heroes in building the economy as well as participants in every historical combat and various skirmishes or nation related conflicts in history, particularly during the colonial era. Various governments seem to have a case of forgotten heroes who engaged enemies courageously in honor of their countries.

The American case is no exceptional because the Black warriors lacked proper recognition for the significant role played during the civil war. According to Katz (2005), the early antique situations of racism brought in the concept of black people being foreigners or immigrants. They Black cowboy warriors existed as nationals who were born and bred in America, and some with family members of the lighter complexion, but the government never accorded them the required recognition.

Today the transformation justifies historical roles through recognition of the walk to glory by the Black cowboys in the battlefields. There is a unique religious heritage in America, showing various roles and fields of achievements (Katz, 2005). The reflective role of the Cowboys’ contribution, therefore, brings about the importance of finding out their main historic significance as this paper briefly prepares.

Major significance of the Black cowboys

The American case study of the Black cowboys indicates that they were African-Americans who were engaged in fighting in the American war in the protection of the settlers against other encumbering natives and lawbreakers (Billington and Hardaway, 1998). The American army engaged most of the Black cowboys as solders during the war.

As excellent speakers of Native American English, the Black cowboys were a major part of the solders deployed to the Mexican boarder to participate in the Spanish-American war, due to the similarities on the horse back activities. They also took part in voyaging to the Philippines during the American excursions (Katz, 2005).

Engagement of the first battalion of Black cowboys, also known as Buffalo solders to the U.S. army in 1866 shows that they shared similar prejudices with the white men. They did not participate in actions unfavorably, such as dealing with main cases that affected American natives. The common reprisals about the government ruthlessness were not the exact situations.

Black cowboys had the task of ensuring a tough guard of the territory, which may appear to have various oppressive aspects. The government later disbanded buffalo solders in the 1950s from the armed forces. This was enough evidence for neglecting their significant role during the war.

Why the Significance Lack of Recognition

The popular teaching of culture lacks the significance of the Black cowboy due to the common impression that black African Americans never settled in the west after the end of the major cattle drives. The historical insinuations are that Black cowboys were slaves brought in to work for the white landowners, who utilized the fertile soli of Texas for cotton farming. The story progresses that the whites began ranching and traded the slaves for cattle.

According to Katz (2005), the civil war in 1861 found many inhabitants and heads of cattle, and the end of the war brought about the emergence of cowboys who dominated the cattle ranching industry.

Lack of recognition also comes about due to confinement in ranching, owing to the existence of discrimination in other fields of occupation. The bond between black and white cowboys was, however, stronger due to the interdependence. The harshness involving dangers of the wild animals and attacks from Native Americans transcended the prejudices.


The coexistence of the white and black cowboys, therefore, brought about the key historic significance of cowboys, which was to fight rustlers, cattle thieves, and abundant gunslingers. Today the historic significance of Black cowboys may have diminished due to the diverse changes on the work roles or performances.

There is no need for long drives since machines deliver most of the requirements, including the cattle feed and perform tedious tasks such as plowing. Barbed wires block firms and civilization brings in respect and abidance to rules. The Cowboys, therefore, engage circus, horse games and the shooting skills come in handy in competitions and entertainment circuits besides ranching.


Billington, M. & Hardaway, R. (1998). African Americans on the Western Frontier. Colorado, CO: University Press of Colorado. Print.

Katz, W., L. (2005). The Black West. New York, NY: Harlem Moon/Broadway Press. Print.

This essay on African-American Studies: Black Cowboys was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, April 16). African-American Studies: Black Cowboys. https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-american-studies-black-cowboys/


IvyPanda. (2020, April 16). African-American Studies: Black Cowboys. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-american-studies-black-cowboys/

Work Cited

"African-American Studies: Black Cowboys." IvyPanda, 16 Apr. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/african-american-studies-black-cowboys/.

1. IvyPanda. "African-American Studies: Black Cowboys." April 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-american-studies-black-cowboys/.


IvyPanda. "African-American Studies: Black Cowboys." April 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-american-studies-black-cowboys/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "African-American Studies: Black Cowboys." April 16, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/african-american-studies-black-cowboys/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'African-American Studies: Black Cowboys'. 16 April.

Powered by CiteTotal, free citation style generator
More related papers