The information and pictures in this article were contributed by the Boone County History and Culture Center to commemorate Black History Month and were adopted and revised by Tara Blue.
“Before Jackie Robinson donned a Dodger uniform, before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and before Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, there was Tom Bass” (Downey, 2009). While his name may not be widely known by central Missourians today, it was “once a household name synonymous with equestrian feats of unparalleled beauty and achievement.” (Rojo, 2012)
Earning the respect of President William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and even Queen Victoria of England herself, Bass’ latter years of fame were in stark contrast to his humble beginnings. Born in 1859 to a teenage slave mother and a Southern Boone plantation owner’s son, Tom assisted his grandfather with coachman duties. It became immediately apparent that he had a knack for training horses and was even rumored to ride the plantation’s championship saddle horse Helen Macgregor by the time he was four years old.
See more in this weeks Boone County Journal