The Great Black Jockeys
- Publish Date: 1999-01-27
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Edward Hotaling
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More than a century before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, black athletes were dominating America's first national sport. The sport was horse racing, and the greatest jockeys of all were slaves and the sons of slaves. Cheered by thousands of Americans in the North and South, they rode to victory in all of the major stakes, including the very first Kentucky Derby. Although their glory days ranged from the early 1700s to the turn of the 20th century, the memory of these great black jockeys was erased from history. Who were these athletes and why have their names vanished without a trace?
This may be the most fascinating untold sports story in American history. We are lucky that it is so well told now by Mr. Hotaling in his wonderfully written book. Charles Osgood, anchor, CBS News Sunday Morning
The Great Black Jockeys is the first book about the lives and times of the forgotten men whose extraordinary skills were a wonder to behold, men with names like Honest Ike Murphy, Abe Hawkins, Willie Simms, Austin Curtis, Jimmy Winkfield, and dozens more. This is also a story of a young country where whole towns turned out in cleared fields to cheer and place wagers on magnificent horses and the men who rode them, and where the greatest athletes in the land were the property of others. For fleeting moments on the racecourse black riders in colorful silks tasted the glory and freedom that slavery had denied them.
In The Great Black Jockeys, the exploits and courage of America's earliest and best athletes are finally remembered.