And now you know…
The real “Lone Ranger,” it turns out, was an African American man named Bass Reeves, who the legend was based upon. Perhaps not surprisingly, many aspects of his life were written out of the story, including his ethnicity. The basics remained the same: a lawman hunting bad guys, accompanied by a Native American, riding on a white horse, and with a silver trademark.
Historians of the American West have also, until recently, ignored the fact that this man was African American, a free black man who headed West to find himself less subject to the racist structure of the established Eastern and Southern states.
While historians have largely overlooked Reeves, there have been a few notable works on him. Vaunda Michaux Nelson’s book, Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award for best author. Arthur Burton released an overview of the man’s life a few years ago. Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves recounts that Reeves was born into a life of slavery in 1838. His slave-keeper brought him along as another personal servant when he went off to fight with the Confederate Army, during the Civil War.
Reeves took the chaos that ensued during the war to escape for freedom, after beating his “master” within an inch of his life, or according to some sources, to death. Perhaps the most intruiging thing about this escape was that Reeves only beat his enslaver after the latter lost sorely at a game of cards with Reeves and attacked him.
After successfully defending himself from this attack, he knew that there was no way he would be allowed to live if he stuck around.
Reeves fled to the then Indian Territory of today’s Oklahoma and lived harmoniously among the Seminole and Creek Nations of Native American Indians.
After the Civil War finally concluded, he married and eventually fathered ten children, making his living as a Deputy U.S. Marshall in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. If this surprises you, it should, as Reeves was the first African American to ever hold such a position.
Burton explains that it was at this point that the Lone Ranger story comes in to play. Reeves was described as a “master of disguises”. He used these disguises to track down wanted criminals, even adopting similar ways of dressing and mannerisms to meet and fit in with the fugitives, in order to identify them.
Reeves kept and gave out silver coins as a personal trademark of sorts, just like the Lone Ranger’s silver bullets. Of course, the recent Disney adaptation of the Lone Ranger devised a clever and meaningful explanation for the silver bullets in the classic tales. For the new Lone Ranger, the purposes was to not wantonly expend ammunition and in so doing devalue human life. But in the original series, there was never an explanation given, as this was simply something originally adapted from Reeves’ personal life and trademarking of himself. For Reeves, it had a very different meaning, he would give out the valuable coins to ingratiate himself to the people wherever he found himself working, collecting bounties. In this way, a visit from the real “Lone Ranger” meant only good fortune for the town: a criminal off the street and perhaps a lucky silver coin.
Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves was also expert crack shot with a gun. According to legend, shooting competitions had an informal ban on allowing him to enter. Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves rode a white horse throughout almost all of his career, at one point riding a light grey one as well.
Like the famed Lone Ranger legend Reeves had his own close friend like Tonto. Reeves’ companion was a Native American posse man and tracker who he often rode with, when he was out capturing bad guys. In all, there were close to 3000 of such criminals they apprehended, making them a legendary duo in many regions.
The final proof that this legend of Bass Reeves directly inspired into the story of the Lone Ranger can be found in the fact that a large number of those criminals were sent to federal prison in Detroit. The Lone Ranger radio show originated and was broadcast to the public in 1933 on WXYZ in Detroit where the legend of Reeves was famous only two years earlier.
Of course, WXYZ and the later TV and movie adaptions weren’t about to make the Lone Ranger an African American who began his career by beating a slave-keeper to death. But now you know. Spread the word and let people know the real legend of the Lone Ranger.
“So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”
―Neil deGrasse Tyson
These photos are on the shortlist for Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014, a competition and exhibition run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich. The winning images will be posted here on September 18.
Medical Examiner In Zimmerman Trial Sues For $100M, Claims Prosecution Threw Case
In a bombshell allegation, Florida medical examiner Dr. Shiping Bao (pictured) claims that Florida state prosecutors were biased against Trayvon Martin and purposely threw the case, and he is suing the state for $100 million, reports WFTV.com.
According to Bao, the medical examiner, state attorney’s office, and Sanford Police Department all felt that Martin “got what he deserved.” Bao also claims that he received the strong, though subtle, message not to speak on certain things:
“He was in essence told to zip his lips. ‘Shut up. Don’t say those things,’” said Bao’s legal counsel, legendary Attorney Willie Gary.
Bao’s allegations come swiftly on the heels of him being fired from his position as associate medical examiner.
Volusia County released a letter on Tuesday, stating that Bao was fired last week. Spokesman Dave Byron declined to give a reason for Bao’s termination, citing “county standard personnel practices,” reports CBS News.
so he stepped forward AFTER he was fired?
"Yeah. Morgan Freeman said it. And I was just told this when I was doing an interview: He’s not going to talk about racism. I’m not going to talk about it. Yeah, it’s an elephant. We all see it, we all know it, but I’m not going to carry it in my heart, because I want to be a person that embodies change. Not embodies war or battles or bitterness; I want to keep moving on."
We have a Black president right now, so why the f— would I sit down and talk about how hard it is for Black women in Hollywood when there’s a Black president in my country?” Zoe Saldana Ebony Magazine
- And finally, this abomination:
Donning a blackface and a fake nose to portray Nina Simone, a dark skinned black woman who struggled immensely with her blackness throughout her entire life. This is a direct slap in the face to Simone’s legacy and dark skinned black women. If Saldana really cared about Simone (she doesn’t), understood her personal struggles (again, she doesn’t), she would have turned down the role and given it to an actress that is more suitable to play Simone (I nominate Adepero Oduye). She doesn’t realize the amount of privilege she has in Hollywood being a conventionally attractive, skinny, light skin black woman. What’s so irritating about this casting is at the end of the day Saldana can easily remove the dark skin, the wide nose, and Simone’s adversity but Nina Simone couldn’t do that. -G
This right here is why BW shouldn’t go see this film, no matter how much you love Nina Simone. I love Ms. Simone, but is know she would never, could never co-sign on the convenient blackness of Zoe Saladana.
According to the Washington Post, up until three years ago Darren Wilson worked for the Jennings Police Department, located not far from from the city of Ferguson. The Jennings police department was also made up of mostly white officers, who were supposed to be protecting and serving a mostly black community. Instead, there were so many problems between the police and residents of the town, that the entire 45 person police force was fired. Wilson was one of the officers who lost his job, when the Jennings police force was disbanded.
The city of Jennings has a population of only 14,000 residents, 89 percent of those citizens are black. The racial make-up of the city’s police force, on the other hand, was something like 43 white officers to two black officers. Much like Ferguson, the poverty rate is high and full time employment is scarce. Rodney Epps, one of the Jennings city council members who voted to disband the entire police force, told the Washington Post that the city was plagued racial tension.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back, an officer shot at a female. She was stopped for a traffic violation. She had a child in the back [of the] car and was probably worried about getting locked up. And this officer chased her down Highway 70, past city limits, and took a shot at her. Just ridiculous,”
Epps said during an interview, published on August 23.
After a string of lawsuits over unnecessary force, including accusations of police beating and attacking residents without cause, along with federal and state investigations that revealed fraud and corruption inside the Jennings police department, the city council realized that the entire force was a liability, instead of an asset.
The council voted 6-1 to shut down the Jennings police department, fire all 45 officers who belonged to it, and start over.
While there are no specific reports about Darren Wilson at this time, Lt. Jeff Fuestang, who was appointed to run the city’s new police department described conditions in Jennings at the time the that Wilson was fired:
“There was a disconnect between the community and the police department. There were just too many instances of police tactics which put the credibility of the police department in jeopardy. Complaints against officers. There was a communication breakdown between the police and the community. There were allegations involving use of force that raised questions.”
So much for that spotless record. Darren Wilson, along with 44 other cops, was fired because of serious misconduct, excessive force and rampant corruption. Why is that not on his record?
I grew up in St Louis after our family moved there from England. The racial segregation is really bad. Many white people in St Louis (especially in STL County) are truly racist and bigoted.
i’m not at all surprised by the kkk police force