An Author's Note
by Julius LesterThis is a true story based on the life of a black cowboy named Bob Lemmons. He is mentioned in two books: The Adventures of the Negro Cowboys
by Philip Durham and The Mustangs
by Everett L. Jones and J. Frank Dobie. In the latter there is an interview with Lemmons when he was in his eighties. I told this story first in my book Long Journey Home: Stories from Black History
(Dial Books, 1972, reissued 1993). The present version was inspired by a fascination with black cowboys that Jerry Pinkney and I discovered we share. Jerry sent me a copy of a 1975 calendar he illustrated depicting blacks in the West and said he would love to do a book about black cowboys. I sent him a copy of Long Journey Home
and asked him to read ?The Man Who Was a Horse.?
He read it and said he would love to illustrate it, but thought it would be very difficult to rewrite the story as a picture book. I didn?t tell him that I thought the real hard work was going to be the illustrations. May we each keep believing that our job is the easier one. An Author's Note
by Jerry PinkneyAs a young boy growing up in Philadelphia, PA, I dreamed of exploring the Wild West. My friends and I played cowboys, and with great enthusiasm we became characters portrayed on the silver screen. What fun we had. Today I wonder how our role-playing and self-esteem would have been enhanced had we known about Nat Love, the black cowboy, Bill Pickett, the black rodeo star, and the fact that one out of three cowboys was black or Mexican. Some thirty years later I got my chance to play cowboys again, with a project I created for an African-American history calendar. The subject was the Black West, and it was that calendar I shared with Julius Lester. So again, some twenty-two years later I am playing cowboys. This time I am illustrating the story of Bob Lemmons, herding wild horses on the western plains. My gear is the finely crafted text written by Julius and my ever increasing appetite for American history. It is also the mounting research on this nation?s true West, with -- of course -- cowboys of color. Published by Dial Books
A member of Penguin Putnam Inc.
375 Hudson Street ? New York, New York 10014
Text copyright ? 1998 by Julius Lester
Pictures copyright ? 1998 by Jerry Pinkney
All rights reserved
Copyright © 1998 by Julius Lester. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.