Thursday, January 28, 2016

Florida's Black Cowboys: Past and Present Traveling Exhibit Opens


The Florida Agricultural Museum announces that a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the "Florida's Black Cowboys: Past and Present" traveling exhibit will be held on Monday, February 1st, at 11 AM, at Matanzas High School in Flagler County.  The exhibit is scheduled to tour all nine Flagler County Public Schools until the end of the 2016 school year in June.  The exhibit will then travel through all branches of the St. Johns County Public Library System followed by a tour of other venues currently being arranged. 


17th Century African Cowboys on a Florida Savanna
Artist:  Allan Phillips
  

The exhibit chronicles the centuries-long participation of Africans and African Americans in Florida's cattle industry.  The term "cowboy" evokes iconic images of the American West, but it was first introduced to the Americas in coastal South Carolina during the 18th century and specifically meant a "black slave who tended cattle".  Long before that however, Africans and their New World descendants, both free and slave, were tending vast herds of cattle on the prairies of 17th century Spanish Florida. 

The exhibit examines two under-appreciated aspects of Florida history: the origins and growth of the cattle industry, and the important roles of black cattlemen and cowboys in developing that industry.  It offers an opportunity for reflection on the diversity of the black experience in Florida history, which is too often dominated by slavery and oppression.  Cattle raising is one of the few aspects of Florida history that have had continuity from the colonial era until today and is a quintessentially Florida experience.

Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 






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