Ezra Tucker

Breaking a Maverick


acrylic on illustration board
43 x 33 in.
48.5 x 38.5 in. (framed)
The lives of African American men and women are intertwined in the history of the United States, even though their stories are rarely highlighted in our historical record. Numerous nameless African American cowboys, vaqueros, and Native peoples worked alongside the European American cowboys. After the Civil War, as people of African descent moved West, the importance of cattle and horses gave many ex-slaves employment on Western ranches. African men were noted for their skills with horses, so if there was an outlaw horse to be broken, it was their job. Mexican vaqueros were the instructors who originated the art of cowboy work. Cowboys were needed to capture wild mustangs, and then tame and train the horses for the work necessary of rounding up cattle and taking herds to market during the height of the cattle drives from 1866 to 1895.