“I am Bass Reeves!”

Today, we began our study of Cowboys! We talked about the Wild West and the brave men who tried to keep order. We began with a book about a forgotten hero of the West, US Marshall Bass Reeves. Born enslaved, Bass was a genius with horses, especially animals and a prodigy marksman. He was so amazing that his owner took him to fight by his side in the Civil War. History has it that Bass escaped after a physical altercation with his owner because the fight meant he was destined for death. Living on the run in Native American Territory, he learned many Native American languages, perfected his marksmanship and understanding of the territory. Once “freedom” was the law for all people, Bass came out of the shadows purchased land and with his wife, had 11 children. The area was tough with outlaws threatening homesteads, especially Black owners, incessantly. After being deputized by “The Hanging Judge”, Marshall Bass Reeves had the most impeccably fair and honest career in the west. He was a deputy for 32 years, longer than any other US Marshall.  Over his illustrious career,  he never took a bribe, only shot 14 men and resorted to gunplay only when his life was threatened. He died with a reputation of being “one of the bravest men this country has ever known” and the “most feared deputy US Marshall that was ever heard of”. Bass Reeves was a hero to millions with a legend that was lost to millions, until now. Inspired children who can see heroes that look like them are empowered and proud to the core. Today, my students were infected with the spirit of US Marshall Bass Reeves, a man who changed the world with little reward. They stood in the mirror with their classic Bass Reeves ‘staches and yelled “I am Bass Reeves!”  So proud and so empowered. 


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