True Grit: Black Cowboys

Saturday, Feb 24th, 2pm at the Greenbelt Nature Center, 700 Rockland Ave, SINY 10314.

Staten Island OutLOUD presents this special event for Black History Month, in connection with the National Endowment for the Arts/The Big Read.  OutLOUD continues its celebration of Charles Portis’ classic novel True Grit.  One compelling character, Yarnell Poindexter, works on the Arkansas farm owned by the Ross family.  When Mr. Ross is murdered by a drifter who worked briefly as a farmhand, Mattie Ross, his 14 year-old daughter  sets off for Oklahoma Territory to find her father’s killer and bring him to justice.  Yarnell doesn’t want Mattie to travel alone, so he accompanies her and protects her – until Mattie asserts her independence.  Though Yarnell appears briefly in this novel, his character is striking because it raises the issue of how freed slaves survived in the deep South & in the West, during the latter part of the 19th century.
In the post-Civil War years, African-American men comprised 25% of the workers in the cattle industry. Before transcontinental rail travel, cowboys were essential in leading cattle drives to market. Those black cowboys were freed slaves and their sons & grandsons. They played a vital role in post-Civil War development, but many of us don’t know much about their lives and work.
Join Staten Island OutLOUD as we explore this important facet of American history. Book & bandana giveaway! Family-friendly.

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