Florida History's Black Cowboys On Display In Northeast Florida

Feb 3, 2016

Credit State Library & Archives of Florida

Stories about Florida’s black cowboys may be hard to find in a textbook. However, a new traveling exhibit could help students learn about the little-known piece of Florida history.

The Florida Agricultural Museum is presenting “Florida's Black Cowboys: Past and Present” throughout Flagler and St. Johns counties. The exhibit chronicles the journey of black cattlemen and cowboys and their contribution to the cattle industry dating back to the 17th century.

The program was sponsored by a grant from Florida Humanities Council and funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Director of development for Florida Agricultural Museum Mary K. Herron spent a year curating the project in what she described as “a labor of love.”

Flagler County Schools spokesman Jason Wheeler says many students might not know how influential black cowboys were in Florida’s cattle industry because it’s not taught in school.

He says, “You’re not going to find it in the history books that they sit down and read in the classrooms and such.”

The exhibit opened this week at Matanzas High School and will travel to all Flagler County public schools until the end of the current school year. It will eventually make its way to St. Johns County public libraries.

The display is open to the public, but Flagler School officials ask visitors to check in the with school offices before going to view the exhibit.