John Ware: African American Cowboy

2418 WordsJun 18, 201810 Pages
Alberta’s historical record has many significant accounts of rancher and cowboy life in the late 1800’s. One of these cowboys was John Ware, who was known for his horsemen skills and his great strength. This man was well liked by his neighbours, ranchers, and other cowboys. The population of Alberta at this time was predominately Caucasian. John Ware however was an African American. Ware was not the only black cowboy from the United States who settled in Alberta. The late 1800’s was not a time of racial tolerance in the western States, nor in Alberta. What the historical records do indicate though is that John Ware was an individual worth recognition despite discrimination based on skin colour. Ware was not literate. What we know of him…show more content…
He was referred to as the greatest black cowboy of the 1870’s He was born in Tennessee in 1848, and moved to Texas in 1853. He was an excellent tamer of wild broncos, a proficient roper, however he lacked the ability to read or write. Despite some racial inequality within the cowboy culture and workplace, it wasn't nearly as prevalent. Discrimination was not typical within cattle industry in regards to wages, all received little pay as cattlemen no matter what race they may be. If there was, any discrimination against African Americans it was in regards to their living conditions. White cattle workers would usually sit separately from all other races including aboriginals, and Hispanics. In Texas, Saloons were considered a neutral zone where segregation was not enforced. Savage mentions that friendships were even formed between black and white cowboys out of mutual respect for each other’s abilities. Prejudice was not as common in rural areas, but it urban areas it was very common. Black foremen and trail bosses faced many difficult problems. Porter argues that many white men did not believe that black men had the qualities needed for the position. Porter writes that even if an African American had “the necessary intelligence, initiative, and general capacity”, he would still have to work with white men who may not recognize the authority of a black supervisor. One black supervisor who led white cattlemen was Al Jones. He was tall and incredibly

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