Gov. Beshear proclaims April 25-May 1 ‘Ed Brown Society Week’ in Ky.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear signed a proclamation naming April 25-May 1 “Ed Brown Society Week” in the Commonwealth.
It recognizes African Americans’ contributions to horse racing ahead of the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby.
“In the 1800s and early 1900s, the majority of jockeys were African Americans. But, despite their centuries of contributions, after World War I, African Americans were pushed out of the sport,” said Governor Beshear. “I am proud to recognize the Ed Brown Society, an organization helping right this wrong by providing mentorship to the next generation of African American Kentuckians in the horseracing industry.”
The Ed Brown Society is named after Edward D. Brown, who was born into slavery in Lexington in 1850. He developed into one of the most accomplished African American horsemen in the history of thoroughbred racing.
Brown was sold at the age of seven to a proprietor of the horse farm Woodburn Stud in Woodford County. While there, he became a jockey in his early teens.
At 14, Brown won his first race on a horse named Asteroid.
A year later, he was emancipated.
Afterwards, Brown built his career as a top jockey and trainer until he saved enough money to establish his own racing stable, where he owned and trained several stakes winners.
His two standout victories include when he won the fourth running of the Belmont Stakes in 1870 riding Kingfisher and when he led Baden-Baden as a trainer in 1877 to win the third running of the Kentucky Derby.
In 1984, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
The Ed Brown Society was recently established to celebrate the rich history of African Americans in the equine industry as well as to create opportunities for young African American Kentuckians.
“At the Ed Brown Society, in our past, we want to acknowledge and educate about the wonderful history of African Americans in horse racing in our great state,” said Ray Daniels, chief executive officer of Equity Solutions Group and president of the Ed Brown Society. “In the present day, we want to highlight the great jobs and opportunities in the equine industry. We’ve been successful in guiding 30 African Americans into horse ownership in the past few years. And the future for us is to educate young students to make these opportunities in the industry a reality.”
The society aims to increase diversity in thoroughbred racing and its support professions, helping more people pursue a career they are passionate about, and at the same time, helping the equine industry reach its full potential.
For example, as of 2018, African Americans comprised 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, but made up only 1.7 percent of veterinary employment, a statistic the society wants to help improve.
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