by Molly Gore

On January 4th, one day before Georgia will finish voting in the Senate runoff races, Black cowboys from the Atlanta Saddle Club Association mounted up and rode to the polls, encouraging voters to cast their ballot. The ride follows a larger movement of Black cowboys who rode their horses to the polls for the general election this past November in a display of hope and strength, calling communities of color to make their voices heard. 

Organizer Daryl Fletcher is one of hundreds of Black cowboys and cowgirls who are reclaiming the American image which has been misrepresented and is largely misunderstood as white. The term “cowboy” was a derogatory name for enslaved cattle handlers — two thirds of whom were Black and Mexican, while their white counterparts were known as “cattlemen.” The hard-fought right to vote, thrive, and build up Georgia’s $2.5 billion dollar horse industry is epitomized by this patriotic ride, reminding Georgians that Black Cowboys Matter.

“We’re not expected to be out there, but we have to be out there. We want to show up in big numbers, showing America that Black men care about our communities by voting.”

The ride began at the Georgia State Capitol building on 206 Washington Street at one o’clock and concluded at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights on 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd.

Black riders have been iconic in 2020, leading protests and poll-rides across the country over the course of the year. In Atlanta, Fletcher hopes to remind Georgians that Black Cowboys Matter, and that they’re passing their long-held legacy of patriotism, freedom and bravery to new generations of Americans.