Black Heritage Riders -The Journey of A Modern African American Pioneer
Vol. II

Manhattan, New York- Los Angeles, California,   Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No. 848
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Miles Dean- Short Bio


Educator/Equestrian
New York To California Trail Rider
Fee: Please contact for more Info
Mr. Dean Commutes from New Jersey
 

 

Arkansas Commentary

The Wild, Wild west and the Men who Rode under the hanging Judge

Unlike the children who grew up in the western states with cattle ranches and horse ranches as part of their young environment, I grew up in the concrete jungle and my connection to cattle and horses came by way of television.  I pretended and dreamed about being a cowboy.  Dreams do sometimes come true! Whatever you want to do in life that festers in your heart and soul is something that you should hold on to and at some point in your life…get it done!
 
As a young child, Hollywood westerns helped to keep my dream alive but because the cowboys on TV didn’t fit the image in the mirror reality soon clouded my dream.  It was Sidney Poitier’s 1972 role as a cowboy in “Buck and the Preacher” that brought back the sunshine.  It didn't matter that Hollywood continued producing the westerns played by some of my favorite actors such as Clint Eastward because I had already begun my research on the African American cowboy. 
 
Clint Eastwards' portrayal of a Marshall working for the “Hanging Judge” in Fort Smith, Arkansas was an accurate representation of Judge Parkers' desire to bring law and order into the Arkansas territory by hiring these Marshals.  Hollywood, however, didn’t chase the outlaws into the Oklahoma territories where they often ran to escape the short hand of the law.  The Native American occupied that land.  If Hollywood had chased them into that territory then the short arm of the law would become the long arm of the law and it would have had a Black had at its’ end. 
 
So why did Hollywood cut of its arm in spite of the truth?  Images mean a great deal to a child.  Good guys always wear the white cowboy hats…Bad guys wear Black.    White Angels vs Dark Angels……Angel food cake or Devils food cake…White Christmas...Black Monday…and on ...and on...and on.  To have African American Marshals taming White towns in Hollywood portrayals just didn’t seem to fit the mold, so they just left that part of the true story as an untold story.  Why do young African American children need to know about African American Marshals such as; Rufus Cannon, Bill Colbert, Neely Factor, Robert Fortune, , Zeke Miller, Willie Kennard and many more?  It is because these men made a significant contribution to the taming of the “Wild Wild West” leading to the settlement and expansion of that territory.  What the African American jockey was to the Kentucky Derby, these men were to the unsettled western frontier.   
Images go a long way in helping to hinder or promote self respect, self esteem, and self empowerment and the truth will set us all free.