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
 

 

Kentucky Commentary

companion video

They Rode to Victory

The textbooks used in our public school system might reflect more contributions of African Americans to the social and political fabric of our multi-cultural society if we, as a people, move away from the belief that we are living in a multi-racial society, after all there is only one race...the human race.

Under the institution of Slavery, African people were far more advanced that most people would believe. African people were skilled artisans, orators, preachers, politicians, and athletes. After the emancipation proclamation was signed in 1863, the Period of Reconstruction began and for the next 13 years African Americans moved quickly to become major players in American society.The following table reflects the achievements of African Americans in the political arena during that period.

African Americans in Office 1870-1876

 

In my travels through the state of Kentucky I visited both the Kentucky horse park in Lexington and Churchill Downs in Louisville. I reflected on a date in the month of May in the year 1875.The place was then called the Louisville Jockey Club, and 10,000 racing fans watched as 15 jockeys (14 of them Black) on horseback approached a line that was drawn in the track dirt. A drum was tapped to signal the race was on, while at the same time a red flag was lowered for the timekeepers to click their watches. Two minutes, 37 and three-quarter seconds later, Black jockey Oliver Lewis, aboard a chestnut mount named Aristides, thundered across the finish line and into horse racing history. There is a grand statue of Aristides at the place now called Churchill Downs at the Louisville, Kentucky race track. Where is the statue of Oliver Lewis?

African American men such as William (Billy) Walker, George Lewis, Babe Hurd, Isaac (the Colored Archer) Murphy, Erksine Henderson, Isaac Lewis, Alonzo (Lonnie) Clayton, James (Soup) Perkins, Willie Simms and Jimmy (The Wink) Winkfield were uttered throughout horse racing circles.Has Isaac Murphy’s winninIaasc Murphyg percentage of 44% established by his retirement in 1892 ever been equaled? Why, by 1902, did Black jockeys leave or get pushed out of the most prestigious sport in United States history? Why do so many African American children and others not know about these men and that triumphant period? Perhaps the interview with Dr. Anne Butler will offer some insight.

In 2010 the Equestrian World games will come to the state of Kentucky and hopefully Kentuckians and all involved in sponsoring the Equestrian World Games will not miss the opportunity to honor (in a similar manner the horses Man of War and Aristides are embraced) the contributions of the African American Jockey who helped to usher in the most prestigious racing sport in the United States.

After a few days of viewing the above information, we will continue our ride into history. Also, for daily updates and podcast on the AMAAP journey visit NJ.com and type in "Where is Miles Dean" in the search box.

We invite you to add comments on the content of this web site on our blog. In addition, we will post commentaries during this ride from guest writers as we proceed across the country.


Images courtesy of:      Library of Congress      Lexington Herald-Leader