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National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Release Date: 01/28/10
Contacts: Lesley A. Collins 307-261-7603    

Trails Center Celebrates Black History Month with an Exhibit on Black Cowboys:
The new exhibit features prominent black cowboys from Wyoming and throughout the West

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC) is celebrating Black History Month with an exhibit titled "Black Cowboys: The Forgotten Range Riders." The exhibit opens on Feb. 2, 2010, and will continue throughout February.

The exhibit was created by Jimmy Simmons, a Casper resident and former bull rider. Simmons is also the president of the Casper branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The temporary exhibit features over 20 images of black cowboys from Wyoming and throughout the west.

Also included in the exhibit is research by Todd Guenther, assistant professor of history and anthropology at Central Wyoming College. Guenther, an expert on black ranchers, provided research on Wyoming rancher Jim Edwards, called the “Greatest Negro Cattle Rancher in All the West” by Ebony Magazine.

By the late 1880s, thousands of black men worked as cowboys. According to some estimates, in the early American West, approximately 25 percent of the cowboys were black. However, images of black cowboys in movies, television, and books are scarce, and give the false impression that African Americans were not cowboys.

Simmons said that there are very few exhibits in the United States focused on telling the story of black cowboys and their contributions to western history. “This could conceivably be the first exhibit of this magnitude in Wyoming,” Simmons said.

For more information about the program, contact Alex Rose at the NHTIC, 307-261-7780.

The NHTIC is a public-private partnership between the BLM and the National Historic Trails Center Foundation. The facility is located at 1501 N. Poplar Street, Casper, Wyo. The Center is currently operating on winter hours, and is open from Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is closed on Sunday through Monday.

BLM manages more land - 256 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center   1501 North Poplar Street      Casper, WY 82601  

Last updated: 01-28-2010