Moments For The Culture-
Hidden History of Americas First Superstar Athletes – The Harlem Derby

by Richard Lallite

HarlemAmerica-Harlem_Derby-Main-Slide-1 Moments For the Culture Hidden History of Americas First Superstar Athletes
The Harlem Derby
HarlemAmerica-logo-no-tagline-feature-article-white-back-trans-2
Moments For The Culture Hidden History of Americas First Superstar Athletes
The Harlem Derby
Featuring Interviews by
HarlemAmerica Correspondent
Roz Nixon
HarlemAmerica-logo-no-tagline-feature-article-white-back-trans-2

Featuring Interviews by HarlemAmerica Correspondent Roz Nixon

The Harlem Derby began as a one day gathering of people demonstrating the pomp of the Kentucky Derby done “Harlem Style”

If you walked down the streets of Harlem on Saturday, May 1st, 2021 , you would not have been able to miss the festive mood as the Harlem community gathered to celebrate the Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Derby and their hidden legacy. You would have marveled at the women dressed in their best with brightly colored and elaborate headgear, and the smartly dressed men in a range of fedoras, bowlers and boaters. This was Harlem Derby Day.

Founded by Rob Owens in 2013, The Harlem Derby celebrates the contributions and achievements of the Black Jockeys and Trainers who were the superstars of America’s oldest and longest, continuously running sporting event. The Kentucky Derby began in the year 1875, at that time, post Civil War, most horse trainers, grooms and jockeys were African-American men. In that first running, 13 out of 15 riders were African-American. In fact, the winner of the inaugural race was Oliver Lewis, an African-American and Kentucky native, born into slavery in 1856. In 1892, Alonzo Clayton competed at the age of 15 and became the youngest person to ever win the Kentucky Derby. One of the most prolific men to compete in the Kentucky Derby was Isaac Burns Murphy. He competed 11 times and won what would come to be known as “The Run for the Roses” 3 times, in 1884, 1890 and 1891.

In the early 1900s with the advent of the Jim Crow Era, African-Americans were banned from the sport with no representation in the race between 1922 and the year 2000. This however, cannot minimize the impact that African-Americans had on the creation and popularization of The Oldest American Sporting Event.

The Harlem Derby began as a one day gathering of people demonstrating the pomp of the Kentucky Derby done “Harlem Style” and has become a three-week long series. This year organizers introduced The Harlem Derby Music Festival which featured artists from all over the country, for a day celebrating the deep roots of African-American Music of all genres and the Black Derby Aesthetic in our culture.

For more information on The Harlem Derby or the History of African-American Jockeys in The Kentucky Derby please check out the links below:

HarlemAmerica Correspondent Roz Nixon Interviews Co-Founder Rob Owens and Guests

HarlemAmerica-Harlem_Derby-Main-Slide-1 Moments For the Culture Hidden History of Americas First Superstar Athletes
The Harlem Derby
HarlemAmerica-logo-no-tagline-feature-article-white-back-trans-2
Moments For The Culture Hidden History of Americas First Superstar Athletes
The Harlem Derby
Featuring Interviews by
HarlemAmerica Correspondent
Roz Nixon
HarlemAmerica-logo-no-tagline-feature-article-white-back-trans-2

The Harlem Derby began as a one day gathering of people demonstrating the pomp of the Kentucky Derby done “Harlem Style”

If you walked down the streets of Harlem on Saturday, May 1st, 2021 , you would have been able to miss the festive mood as the Harlem community gathered to celebrate the Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Derby and their hidden legacy. You would have marveled at the women dressed in their best with brightly colored and elaborate headgear, and the smartly dressed men in a range of fedoras, bowlers and boaters. This was Harlem Derby Day.

Founded by Rob Owens and Annette Harris in 2013, The Harlem Derby celebrates the contributions and achievements of the Black Jockeys and Trainers who were the superstars of America’s oldest and longest continuously running sporting event. The Kentucky Derby began in the year 1875, at that time, post Civil War, most horse trainers, grooms and jockeys were African-American men. In that first running, 13 out of 15 riders were African-American. In fact, the winner of the inaugural race was Oliver Lewis, an African-American and Kentucky native, born into slavery in 1856. In 1895, James Perkins competed and at the age of 15 became the youngest person to ever win. One of the most prolific men to compete in the Kentucky Derby was Isaac Burns Murphy. He competed 11 times and won “The Run for the Roses” 3 times, in 1884, 1890 and 1891.

In the early 1900s with the advent of the Jim Crow Era, African-Americans were banned from the sport with no representation in the race between 1922 and the year 2000. This however, cannot minimize the impact that African-Americans had on the creation and popularization of The Oldest American Sporting Event.

The Harlem Derby began as a one day gathering of people demonstrating the pomp of the Kentucky Derby done “Harlem Style” and has become a three-week long series. This year organizers introduced The Harlem Derby Music Festival which featured artists from all over the country, for a day celebrating the deep roots of African-American Music of all genres and the Black Derby Aesthetic in our culture.

For more information on The Harlem Derby or the History of African-American Jockeys in The Kentucky Derby please check out the links below:

HarlemAmerica Correspondent Roz Nixon Interviews Co-Founder Rob Owens and Guests

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