Where did the love of the Kentucky Derby come from? Me. Watching horses running around a track. Why am I enjoying this sport? Who am I? This was the second year I watched the Kentucky Derby and I find myself intrigued by the horses, their owners, and jockeys. It is the world that I am far, far removed.
When my husband suggested we have a derby party, I thought why not? So we had food and adult beverages and watched these beautiful majestic horses run around the track in a way I had not thought before last year, made me excited. I listened to the commentators talk about the different horses and their hopeful win. Another thing I enjoyed was all the fashion, mostly the hats. I’m not a hat person, but I love to see all the big and small hat styles.
As the races went on, I admit in all the live shots, I looked for Black people. I did see a few Black men but no Black women. Not to say they were not there. So I got to thinking besides the fact, horse racing is an expensive sport, why aren’t more Black people participating? Since I’m just discovering this sport, I want to find out more.
After a little research, I found that African-American horsemen played a vital role in shaping early American turf history, and the Kentucky Derby is no exception. The history of the Kentucky Derby and African-American horsemen are intertwined. Thirteen of the 15 riders in the first Derby were African-American, while African-American reinsman won 15 of the Derby’s first 28 runnings. The 11 African-American jockeys who rode a total of 15 Derby winners between 1875 and 1902, were honored by the NAACP and the Lincoln Foundation. A plaque commemorating the occasion is now in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s collection.
I hope to attend a horse race in person some day. It will not be the Kentucky Derby but some around my area. I want to find out more about our Black history in the Horse racing business. The next race coming up on May 20th will be the Preakness Stakes. It will be held in Baltimore, Maryland.
See ya at the races!
#ujimamagazine #kentuckyderby #blacksandkentuckyderby #horses #embraceyourcommunity #celebratingthevision
Some content courtesy of African Americans in the Derby
For more information, How African Americans Disappeared from the Kentucky Derby
Photos courtesy of Google
Posted by Damita Miller-Shanklin