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A Juneteenth Rodeo: An Exhibition of Work by Sarah Bird

Wed June 5 @ 12:00 pm | Sun September 1 @ 4:00 pm


A Juneteenth Rodeo is a collection of photographs taken in the late 1970s in the jubilant, vibrant, vital, and now all-but vanished world of small-town Black rodeos. By the time you are reading these words, I will be 75. Three-quarters of a century. So dramatically much closer to the end than to the beginning.  This exhibition, and the publication on which it is based, is the fulfillment of what I’ve thought of as a sacred duty that had to be accomplished before I reached that end: to return these photos and stories to the community they sprang from.

Though rooted in the enduring tragedy of enslavement, Black rodeos, particularly Juneteenth rodeos, were triumphant occasions that celebrated fellowship, community, and victories both in and out of the arena.  While never denying the dark history and profound deprivation that underlay these events, it is their spirit of triumph, of joy, I most sought to capture and convey.

I will never know what it meant to be a Black cowboy in this or any era, but through these images and the accompanying narrative, I hope to explain why I was drawn to their world and what I discovered in those now all-but vanished, small-town rodeos.

The journey started a long time ago.


Start: Wed June 5 @ 12:00 pm
End: Sun September 1 @ 4:00 pm
Cost: Free
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The Neill-Cochran House Museum
2310 San Gabriel St
Austin, 78705 United States
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