Published: Feb 02, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 30, 2013 06:04 PM
Durham County Library will host artist and historian Michael McBride today, as he shares his research and paintings on the lost history of African-American jockeys. The program takes place at 3 p.m. t the Main Library, 300 N. Roxboro St. A discussion will follow the talk.
African-American jockeys have been involved in American horse racing since 1607. McBride asserts these jockeys ruled the sport until 1910. He has documented that the first riders were enslaved, often young boys between the ages of 13 and 15 – a fact that demonstrates that the history of horse racing is rich in its diversity and intertwined with the achievements of African-American horsemen. The more McBride researched, the more convinced he became that the jockeys were really the first professional athletes in America.
“They were around some 200 years before Jackie Robinson integrated major-league baseball,” McBride said. “But like so many things in America that involved blacks, there was no knowledge of these contributions in many sectors in our nation."
McBride, based out of Nashville, has worked on a number of projects over the last decade that illuminate this little-known piece of American History – black jockeys who virtually solidified the foundations of horseracing as it exists today.
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