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The Long Ride Home (Hardback)

Black Cowboys in America

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Photography

Imprint: George F. Thompson
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 110 photographs (color and black-and-white) by the author
ISBN: 9781960521026
Published: 30th April 2024

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The Long Ride Home: Black Cowboys in America is the first book to tell the story of the Black cowboy experience in contemporary America. Although Black cowboys have been a fixture on the American landscape and frontier since the nineteenth century, few people are aware of their enduring contributions to Western U.S. history and how their unique culture continues to thrive today in urban as well as rural areas all over the country.

The book features Ron Tarver’s beautiful, compelling, and often surprising contemporary images of African-American cowboy that not only convey the Black cowboy’s way of life and its rich heritage, but also affirm a thriving culture of Black-owned ranches and rodeo operations, parades, inner-city cowboys, retired cowhands, and Black cowgirls of all ages, too. Tarver, who comes from a family of Black cowboys in Oklahoma, uses his artistry to question, if not upend, long-held notions of what it means to be a cowboy and, with that, what it means to be an American.

The Long Ride Home couldn’t be more timely, coming on the heels of films such as Lil Nas X’s hit time-travel western, Old Town Road (2019), and Idris Elba’s Concrete Cowboy (2021), which was based on Greg Neri’s 2013 book, Ghetto Cowboy, about Philadelphia’s contemporary African-American cowboy culture Tarver made images of in some of the same Philadelphia neighborhoods. Widespread interest in the Black experience in America sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement will also make this book an especially important contribution to Black history.

In addition to Tarver’s 110 photographs, The Long Ride Home includes an essay by Art T. Burton, an expert on the history of Black cowboys, and a conversation between Tarver and curator and longtime photo editor Elizabeth Krist. This book is both a tribute to and celebration of the Black cowboy in America. It is certain to be an invaluable addition to American history for years to come.

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