Hector Bazy image
 
 

Autobiographical Manuscript
Hector Bazy
Texas, c. 1910
Gift of Bob Freeston

Manuscript

Photograph 1 - Bazy at Work

Photograph 2 - Bazy mounted

Photograph 3 - Bazy with horse


 


Autobiographical Manuscript
Hector Bazy
Texas, c. 1910
Gift of Bob Freeston

Born a slave in Texas in 1851, Hector Bazy, like many other blacks emancipated in Texas in 1865, became an African American cowboy, skilled in all manner of ranch work. Throughout his career Bazy broke (tamed) horses, drove cattle, and enjoyed an adventurous life on ranches and during long cattle drives across the Texas plains until the turn of the century. He was part of a multi-ethnic cowboy community, including whites, blacks, American Indians, and Mexicans.

Bazy's autobiographical manuscript reflects the popular perceptions of his time. He accurately captures aspects of the rough-and-ready life and the attitudes and language of the frontier in post-Civil War Texas. He writes of the violence, hard labor, and struggle that people went through to carve out a place for themselves in western America. For example, Bazy includes terms and derogatory labels for people that are considered offensive by contemporary standards. His memoirs are full of gunplay, gun battles, ethnic violence, raids by Native Americans and bandits on frontier settlements, and bloody revolutions.

Diaries, journals, and autobiographies provide us with first-hand knowledge of life long ago and far away. Manuscripts such as this one give us insight into the experiences of people, little-known or forgotten, who built this country, provided sustenance for others, and created civilized living spaces out of the unsettled frontier. Many African Americans, free and recently emancipated, headed west after the Civil War in search of land, freedom, and economic and social opportunity.