Was there racial separation in the Old West? Could a Black cowboy go into a Tombstone saloon?
Jeffery S. King —Washington, DC
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to provide a simple answer. The West is the largest region in the United States, and the period known as the Old West spanned just a few decades, but many parts of the West were settled by Southerners, so segregation prevailed in those areas.
Being a cowboy was one of the few jobs open to men of color. Black and white cowboys mixed and mingled with each other. Working for an outfit meant “riding for the brand.” If cowboys working for the same outfit came into a saloon, it’s likely they drank together, and if anybody didn’t like it, there was a good chance a brawl occurred. Black and white, those who rode for the brand stuck together in the ruckus.
Several other accounts reported violence when Blacks tried to get served in “white” bars and vice versa.
Pity the poor Chinese. Most of the animosity and prejudice in the West was directed at them. This eased some of the discrimination against Blacks.
How did Indians communicate with whites?
Bob Powers — Cincinnati, Ohio
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The historic trail town celebrates its Western heritage all year round.
The Earps' Flight After the Fight
The lawmen’s route from Arizona to New Mexico and Colorado is a grand adventure.
Texas's Quanah Parker Trail
Discover the life of the legendary Comanche following the arrows in the Lone Star State.
The End of an Era
Texans drove their last great herds north in the 1880s.
Slaughter in Seven Rivers
BILLY WILSON AND TOM PICKETT ESCAPED THE NOOSE FOR THE SENSELESS MURDERS OF FOUR HISPANOS IN LINCOLN COUNTY.
Eye for Eye
L.J. Martin makes a movie.
DANIEL BOONE'S YELLOW STONE HUNT
FACT OR FICTION?
Mother of Exiles
Immigration to the West in 1883 transformed the country.
Trailing Them North
Follow the Western Cattle Trail from Bandera, Texas, to Miles City, Montana.
On the True Grit Trails
Travel across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado and discover the real and imagined locations of the iconic novel and 1969 film's locations.