The True American Cowboy Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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a responsibility to make everyone else’s life pleasant. Many cowboys selected an outfit on the reputation of its cook alone (Porter, 1971). Like any other Western imagery, the African-Americans were left out of the typical description of the frontier cook. The picture regularly portrayed is the rugged, bad tempered, hard featured, aged, and grumpy man who was always eating and always seemed to be hostile towards waiting for the cowboys. This is how many people picture the driver of a chuckwagon because these attributes are not falsehoods. This is primarily how the white cooks behaved. The black cooks, however, were referred to as passive, and likable characters, who took pride in their work and loved to please the cowboys. Negro cooks were the exact opposite of the hard

charactered white cooks. This was extremely well accepted by cowboys of all races. After a tough day of work, they did not want to deal with aggressive white cooks. One trail boss wrote, "For cooks I always prefer darkies" (Porter, 1971). However, Nat Love claims that there have been many scenarios when the black cook possessed too much control over the outfit. Love writes, "Some bosses preferred a native white cook…some Negroes were good cooks but usually too submissive, and too, white cowboys refused to take orders from them" (Love, 1968). This is only Love’s comments on the truths that he came into contact with. There were thousands of other outfits which he did not see. In most of these outfits the African-American was adored as the cook and essential

to the outfit’s success. The black cowboy’s life was hard, tedious, and lonely with very few luxuries. Despite these hardships, the African-American frontiersmen lived a somewhat dignified life. They were not burdened with the constraints placed upon many other blacks throughout the country. This was especially crucial to those who were previously living in the South and trying to survive as sharecroppers during the enactment of the Jim Crow laws. Instead of remaining prone to harsh treatment, they worked on the ranches, herding and branding cattle. The real cowboys were black, white, brown, and red. They ate together, did the same jobs, spent weeks with each other, and shared the same dangers. Together cowboys rode out of Texas along many notorious trails, such as the

Chisholm, Western, and Goodnight-Loving trails that went northward towards Kansas, the Dakotas, Colorado, and Wyoming. Many of these rugged outdoorsmen were killed in stampedes, frozen to death, exhausted from the heat, or even drowned. Some remained on the northern plains, while some migrated back South, and some, like Nat Love, ended up somewhere in the middle (Porter, 1971). Unfortunately, today the true history of the West has become a nothing more than a myth. History was replaced by fiction, and these falsehoods are perceived by today’s society as facts. The true American cowboy, white or black, no longer exists in the minds of Americans. It is only as one delves deeper into the facts that the unperceived truth arises. The success of settling the West can be contributed

to men such as Nat Love, but one can certainly not omit the hardworking cowboys who did not live such a glamorous life. The Negro cowboys of this era played a crucial role in facilitating any work on America’s new frontier. The Black cowboys were essential to the United States during the late 1800’s, in a time when any Negro needed great perseverance against prejudice. For their valiant efforts the Black cowboys should be given great honor and prestige. Bibliography: Love, Nat, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as Dead Wood Dick, New York; Arno Press, ©1968. Porter, Kenneth W., The Negro on the American Frontier, New York; Arno Press, ©1971.