New book tells story of first African American female jockey
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The first African American female horse racing jockey is having her story told in a new book called “The Jockey and Her Horse.”
The book chronicling the life of Cheryl White is co-written by New York Times staff reporter Sarah Maslin Nir and White’s brother Raymond White Jr.
The two authors made a special trip Wednesday morning to show the new book to fourth and fifth graders at William Wells Brown Elementary in Lexington’s East End neighborhood. It is the same area where Hall of Fame African American jockeys once lived.
“Cheryl was an incredible pioneering athlete. She was a Serena and Venus Williams of her time, and she has been erased from history. And so we wrote ‘The Jockey and Her Horse,’ and I co-wrote it with her brother Raymond to show people that not only have Black people been a part of thoroughbred racing, they still are,” Nir said.
White took the track in 1971 and rode for 21 years. She was the first female jockey to win five races on the same day and the first female jockey to win in two different states on the same day.
Her younger brother Raymond says his sister received plenty of media coverage in her day.
“They all knew who she was, so she was a household name,” White Jr. said.
Now, white’s name will resonate with these students.
The two authors handed out the book for free, and as soon as it got into their hands, students were eager to dive into the story.
Cheryl white hung up the reigns in 1993, winning her last race.
Her brother says there was one other African American female jockey in the last thirty years, but she retired one year after racing.
“There’s another Cheryl White out there, and maybe we can help that Cheryl White,” White Jr. said.
Wednesday marked the fourth anniversary of Cheryl White’s death. She was 65 years old.
There will be another event for the new book at 6 p.m. tonight at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington. The first 100 attendees under 18 will receive a free copy of the book.
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