Black Cowboys turn a page on American history





OAKLAND

The message, they said, is simple: Those who broke stereotypes after the Civil War by breaking horses in the West deserve to be honored and remembered.

"Twenty-five to 30 percent of working cowboys were people of color," said Wilbert McAllister, 68. "We know the truth. We're not fake."

McAllister is president of the Oakland Black Cowboys Association, which held its 35th annual parade Saturday in the streets surrounding DeFremery Park. Dozens of horsemen and horsewomen from across the state participated, their steeds clomping along city streets.

"I didn't want to be no damn cowboy when I was a kid," said McAllister, who grew up in Madera County. He went to Western movies on the weekends — no one on the screen looked like him.

"I didn't see the image of the black male," he said. "History got left out."

Now, he stables his horses in Fremont and wants to keep knocking down stereotypes. So does Titus Taylor, an evidence technician for the Oakland Police Department.

Replete in knee-high riding boots and a stunning blue tunic with a sword swinging on his hip, Taylor paid homage Saturday to the famed "Buffalo Soldiers," the all-black regiments formed in 1866.



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