Nat Love’s Legacy

By Ami Geiselman

The cover of Nat Love’s autobiography, published in 1907. From

In doing my research on black cowboys, a primary source of particular interest that came up was the only existing autobiography by a black cowboy who lived during the Old West. The book is titled, “The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick’ by Himself,” and within it he recounts not only his rather adventurous life in the west, but his early years as an enslaved person. To learn about the overall experience of black cowboys through secondary sources was fascinating, but to actually read the words of a person who experienced it first-hand made it more immersive and impactful. Something that surprised me throughout reading this was Nat Love’s portrayal of the west in regard to racial equality.

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