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National Historic Trails Center
Release Date: 01/24/12
Contacts: Lesley A. Collins    

"Black Cowboys: The Forgotten Range Riders"
Trails Center Celebrates Black History Month with an Exhibit on Black Cowboys

The 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. 3, 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 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 former Wyoming rancher Jim Edwards. Edwards was featured in an article referring to him as 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 be the first exhibit of this magnitude in Wyoming,” Simmons said.

For more information, contact Alex Rose at the NHTIC, (307) 261-7780.

The NHTIC is a part of the BLM's National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The areas of the NLCS are specifically designed to conserve, protect and restore the exceptional scientific, natural, cultural, ecological, historical, and recreation values of these treasured landscapes.

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 Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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

Last updated: 01-24-2012