UPDATE: The winner is…flchen1!
When I was growing up Westerns were a staple on television. I probably watched every one produced, either in real-time or syndicated reruns. Gunsmoke, Rawhide, The Rifleman, Have Gun Will Travel, Bat Masterson, Death Valley Days, Branded, Bonanza, Wanted Dead or Alive, High Chaparral, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Maverick. There was even a Northwestern, Here Come the Brides, that I enjoyed. I also remember Alias Smith and Jones, a comedic western. I was so steeped in westerns that in junior high school I got a grade of A++ on a pioneer journal assignment. However, while I can name all the shows I watched, one particular episode sticks with me: an episode of High Chaparral that featured Buffalo Soldiers.
To be honest. if a show — no matter what kind — had a black actor or actress on it I watched it. So no surprise I watched High Chaparral regularly on which Frank Silvera, a Jamaican-American, played the Mexican paterfamilias, Don Sebastian Montoya. It’s no wonder then that even after all these years I can still see the half-page ad description in the old TV Guide on their Buffalo Soldiers episode. I must have stared at the drawing of Black cowboys on horseback forever because the picture is still embedded in my memory. I never learned about Buffalo Soldiers in school. I always had the Schomburg Library to go to find information that was verifiable and books on the history of Blacks and the West by authors like Tom Willard and William Lorenz Katz. Today I’m thankful to the Internet that I can learn directly from the websites of Black history museums like the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center in Denver Colorado.
It’s because of an episode of Bonanza I learned the Chinese used thumbprints as means of identification. The episode on Bonanza that dealt with Little Jo’s birth opened my eyes to racism against Native Americans. I wonder if the children in school today are learning about the role the 9th and 10th Cavalry played in the history of the West. Do they know the Chinese invented gunpowder, the compass, and pulp papermaking? Are they learning about the Trail of Tears? I would hope so. I would hope they are being taught by enlightened school systems that uplift the contributions of all cultures to the history of this country.
I don’t watch much TV these days, so I hope what little seeds planted by the stories told on it now grow into trees of truth and not misinformation. In my own small way, I hope the romances I write might do a little planting of their own. So how about you? For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, share in the comments any pieces of history you learned from unexpected sources.
Coming Tomorrow! “The Patience of Unanswered Prayer” from Cowboys
A feisty businesswoman about to become the next victim of Post-Civil War revenge receives rescue from an unexpected source
Excerpt from “The Patience of Unanswered Prayer”…
Something sinister wafted in the still night air from the edge of Franklin Adams’s property. The low growl from the wolf by his side signaled the animal had detected it, too.
“Too quiet, eh, Zeb?”
The wolf tensed as if in agreement.
Franklin sucked in a lungful of warm Oklahoma summer air and scanned the sky. Too quiet like that night a week ago when eight sheet-shrouded night riders thought they’d scare him off his land. No jigaboo had money for a spread like this they’d shouted. None should be allowed to have one outside of the Black townships anyway. Calls to tar and feather and ride his nappy-headed ass out on a rail followed.
Steel from Franklin’s Winchester and the attack of Zeb’s wolf pack had put the fear of God into those shivering cowards. All fled screaming into the night, bruised, bloodied, and bullet-ridden. Surely, they hadn’t come back for a second try? Although many a drunk might grow brave and stupid and forgetful, if they let enough time pass and consumed enough whiskey.
A breeze troubled the leaves of the oak in the front yard. Birdwings fluttered anxious sounds into the air.
Yep. Someone was out there.