John Ware: The Legend of Canada’s “First” Black Cowboy

Known for his strength and horsemanship and his innovative ranching techniques, John Ware was a legendary Albertan. Born into enslavement, he became a successful rancher and eventually settled near Calgary. He was widely admired as one of the best cowboys in the West, even at a time of widespread anti-Black racism and discrimination. We turn to Cheryl Foggo, author, playwright, screenwriter, and director of John Ware Reclaimed and Karina Vernon, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, to learn more about this legendary Black hero who had a hand in shaping Canada’s prairie culture.

Strong and Free is produced by Historica Canada and Media Girlfriends.
 
This episode was written and produced by Garvia Bailey.
 
Senior producers are Garvia Bailey and Hannah Sung.
 
Sound design and mix by Gabbie Clarke and David Moreau. 
 
The Media Girlfriends team is rounded out by Josiane Blanc, Lucius Dechausay, Jeff Woodrow, and Nana aba Duncan, the founder of Media Girlfriends.
 
Thank you to Karina Vernon and to our script consultant, Cheryl Foggo.
 
Fact-checking by Sean Young. 
 

Additional reading:

·       John Ware
 
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Historica Canada 2021