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Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

African Americans in Racing

 
 
African Americans in Racing Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 23, 2022
1. African Americans in Racing Marker
Inscription.  In the early 19th century, Southern Thoroughbred breeders, including those in Kentucky, relied on slaves to care for, ride, and train their horses. After emancipation, many of these former slaves remained on the farms and, to a large degree, it was their expertise that allowed Kentucky to remain the nation's Thoroughbred breeding center. In addition to mucking stalls and grooming horses, African Americans also became skilled and successful jockeys, trainers, and eventually, owners.

During Reconstruction, black jockeys dominated America's tracks and many of the country's most prestigious races were won by horses trained, ridden, and owned by African Americans Racing was America's favorite sport and jockeys such as Isaac Murphy were national sports heroes.

In 1896, the Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson endorsing the “separate but equal” doctrine led to the rise of racial discrimination throughout the country, including its racetracks. By the 1911 Kentucky Derby, only two jockeys were African American. Jockey Henry King's tenth place finish in 1921 marked the last African American in the 20th century to ride in the
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nation's most famous race.

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Inductees • Isaac Murphy – Jockey, owner – Inducted 1955
• Edward Dudley Brown – Jockey, trainer and owner – Inducted 1984
• Jimmy Winkfield – Jockey, trainer and owner – Inducted 2004
• Shelby “Pike” Barnes – Jockey – Inducted 2011
• Ansel Williamson – Trainer – Inducted 1998

Other Significant Jockeys, Trainers and Owners
Dudley Allen (trainer, owner) • Charles Anderson (trainer) • Tommy Britton (jockey) • Clem Brooks (trainer) • Burbridge's Harry (trainer) • Luther Carr (jockey) • Joe Colston (jockey) • Raleigh Colston (jockey, trainer) • Thomas Colston (trainer) • Oscar Dishman (trainer) • Lew (jockey) • Garret Davis Lewis (jockey) • Isaac Lewis (jockey) • Oliver Lewis (jockey, trainer) • Bud Haggins (jockey, trainer) • Tom Harbut (trainer) • Will Harbut (trainer) • Erkshine Henderson (jockey) • Theopholius Irvine, Sr. (trainer) • Theopholius Irvine, Jr. (trainer) • Albert Isam (jockey) • Robert Isom (jockey) • John H. Jackson (jockey) • Isaac Johnston (jockey, trainer) • Eli Jordan (trainer) • Tommy Knight (jockey) • Marshall Lilly (trainer) • Courtney Matthews (trainer) • Frank Perkins (trainer) • James “Soup” Perkins (jockey) • William Perkins (trainer) • Arthur Perossier (trainer) • Abraham Perry (trainer) • William Porter (jockey) • Carl Sitgraves
African Americans in Racing Marker detail image. Click for full size.
Currier & Ives via Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division (public domain), circa 1889
2. African Americans in Racing Marker detail
The futurity race at Sheepshead Bay: Sept. 03, 1888, value $50,000 won by Proctor Knott.
(trainer) • John Stovall (jockey) • William “Billy” Walker (jockey)

Caption: The futurity race at Sheepshead Bay: Sept. 03, 1888, value $50,000 won by Proctor Knott with Shelby “Pike” Barnes up. Published by Currier and Ives, ca. 1889. Library of Congress
 
Erected by Kentucky Horse Park.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansSports. A significant historical year for this entry is 1896.
 
Location. 38° 8.937′ N, 84° 31.236′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Kentucky, in Fayette County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Iron Works Parkway and Iron Works Pike. Marker is near the Man o' War memorial in Kentucky Horse Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4089 Iron Works Pkwy, Lexington KY 40511, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Mostest Hoss (here, next to this marker); Getting Ready (here, next to this marker); Descendants in Man o' War's Memorial Gravesite (a few steps from this marker); Isaac Burns Murphy (a few steps from this marker); The Two-Year-Old (a few steps from this marker); Will Harbut and Man o' War (a few steps from this marker); The Years at Stud (a few steps from this marker); The Three-Year-Old (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
African Americans in Racing Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 23, 2022
3. African Americans in Racing Marker
Featured marker is on the left. A gravestone for Isaac Burns Murphy is between the markers.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 29, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 29, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 175 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 29, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Apr. 15, 2024