Steve Renzi presents “Black Cowboys.” Western historians estimate that two out of every eight cowboys on a cattle drive were black men. They were also miners, soldiers and farmers in the West. After the Civil War, many ex-slaves found themselves freed with no place to live or job opportunities, so many headed out West. The first cowboys were young men; Anglos, Hispanics and Black freedmen who were hired to help round up rogue longhorn cattle who were running wild in the Texas chaparral country. This is where the story begins. Black men and women were part of the struggle in the settlement of the American West, but their story has largely been forgotten and ignored.
Steve Renzi, a University of Arizona graduate with a degree in history, believes that every generation must learn about who and what came before them or else the lessons learned are lost. As a writer and photographer with a teacher’s certificate in secondary education, Renzi is always searching for new ways of exploring our history. He has been published in more than 200 magazine and newspaper articles and is currently a writing and photography teacher, as well as a basketball coach.
This presentation was made possible through the Arizona Humanities AZ Speaks Program.