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Western Films Made Us Believe There Weren't Black Cowboys

The Wild West wouldn't have been the same without black cowboys.
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Western Films Made Us Believe There Weren't Black Cowboys

Something is missing from Western films: There are no black cowboys. 

That's not historically accurate. In the American West in the 1800s, one in four cowboys was African-American. 

Not only did filmmakers exclude black actors from leading roles, some of the stories — like "The Lone Ranger" — are thought to have actually been inspired by an African-American deputy.  

The very few films created to show black cowboys echo the discrimination and racism they faced while on the frontier. 

Cowboys of color say they did a lot more grunt work than their white counterparts. The Wild West wouldn't have been the same without black cowboys. 

Black cowboys were often freed slaves. There weren't a lot of other job options for black men post-Civil War. 

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