“I think we’re getting back to where we’re going to talk about history and what happened.”
He does remember, though, some distortions he learned, such as that everyone heading to western frontiers was white. “We were omitted from many things,” he says.
“Life would have been much different for me growing up if I had known about Black cowboys.”
Now, he says, “it’s good for all kids to having a rounded view of history.”
The pioneers he includes in “Extraordinary Black Missourians” may be some of the least-known, yet most-interesting, entries. Occasionally, entries from the 18th or 19th centuries present challenges, with birthdates, even names, being uncertain. (And an entry for Charles E. Anderson, a trailblazing meteorologist, seems at times to confuse him with Charles A. Anderson, a war pilot.)
The people Wright chose did not need to be born or raised in Missouri, although some were. Others moved here for college or jobs. Some left and became internationally known singers (Tina Turner, Josephine Baker, Grace Bumbry) or writers (Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes). Others worked in Missouri, where they made their names (Cornell Ira Haynes Jr., aka Nelly; Chuck Berry; Lou Brock), passed laws (William Lacy Clay, Leon Jordan), fought for civil rights (Frankie Freeman, Theodore D. McNeal) or taught school (Charles Henry Turner).
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