Historians estimate that one in four cowboys was African-American in the late 1800s in America, yet few know their story.
One Honeywell employee at the KCNSC shining a spotlight on this topic is Trae Q L Venerable, Health, Safety, & Environment Engineer. Last year he published two children’s books about African American Cowboys.
“It took me about two years of research to complete the series because of a lack of records on African American cowboys in the 1800’s and early 1900’s,” says Trae.
But he didn’t have to do a lot of research on ranching as he is a 4th generation cattle rancher of African and Native American descent. His dad’s family was in hog farming until recently, and his mom’s side continues to ranch cattle, horses and hunting dogs. While Trae still gets to the 2,000+ acre ranch in Southern Missouri, he lives in Olathe, Kansas.
“My dad calls me the city cowboy,” says Trae, who earned a bachelor’s degree in safety management with a minor in fire science from the University of Central Missouri. “For over 60 years, my grandpa has been raising Tennessee Walking Horses and breeding coon hounds and labs.”
The characters in his books are pulled from his family tree. Trae’s cousin, Bo, is the cow boss of the family, and Leroy is his grandfather on his father’s side.
Trae was inspired to write the series because he noticed history books didn’t pay homage to African-American cowboys. Now he is hosting book signings and tours to bring the “forgotten cowboy” history to young students and set the record straight on black cowboys.
“For way too long, the “forgotten cowboy” has not been heard, and the time is now.”