top of page

A Long Ride Home

Muskogee Daily Phoenix


A photographic essay documenting lives of African-American cowboys is displayed in the Conoco Gallery at Oklahoma State University in Okmulgee. The exhibit, titled, “A Long Ride Home, The Black Cowboy Experience in America,” includes photographs selected from a larger collection of images on Black rodeos in Okmulgee and Oakland, Calif.

Photojournalist Ron Tarver, staff photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, shot the photographs during the past two years white documenting African-American cowboys at rodeos and in their everyday lives as working cowboys.
A native of Fort Gibson, Tarver earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and graphic arts from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah.
Before joining the Philadelphia Inquirer, he was a staff photographer at Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Springfield News Leader.
Tarver is a two-time Pulitzer nominee, and has earned honors from the National Society of Professional Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association and at the World Press Photo Awards. Selected photographs by Tarver also are part of Altered States exhibition, a look into the history of alcohol and drug use in America, a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition. His works also have been exhibited at the Visa Pour L’Image International Photojournalism Festival in Perpignan, France (1990), the World Press International traveling exhibit (1992) and the Philadelphia Public Library (1993). He frequently lectures about documentary photography. Tarver lives with his wife and daughter in Philadelphia, Pa.
Tarver and noted Black historian William Loren Katz are publishing a photographic book chronicling the history of Black cowboys in America. The book will be available in 1995.
This special exhibit is sponsored by the college’s Black Employee Association and continues through Tuesday. The entire massive exhibit continues on exhibit through Nov. 11 at the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center on the campus of Rutgers University in Camden, N.J., and begins a nationwide tour that will travel several years.

bottom of page