Bruce G. Todd's early peripatetic life led him to settle in Amarillo, Texas, where he took an interest in the history of Amarillo's settlers and early cowboys. Surprised by the lack of information on black settlers, he founded the Potter County Oral History Project and began interviewing the descendants of black settlers.
Mr. Todd was born in Nashville and spent most of his adolescence travelling with his mother, one year attending ten different schools. He eventually moved with his father to New Orleans to work on offshore oil rigs. After living several years
following “in the hobo tradition,” he joined the Marine Corps. After his discharge, he reverted to his nomadic lifestyle, travelling on trains throughout the country. He eventually returned to his grandparents in Tennessee. He also returned to his Christian roots, joining a street ministry in Tennessee and helping to establish a branch of the Salvation Army in Santa Fe. When he entered a temporary living community years later in Amarillo, he began writing.
Bones Hooks captured his interest and Mr. Todd began researching the life of the famous black cowboy who defied the prejudices of his day. Hooks was the first black man to serve on a grand jury in Texas and founded the first black church in the Texas Panhandle. With the help of others, including several influential white friends, he established North Heights, a black community where members were free to purchase property and live unhindered by outside white influence.
In North Heights, Hooks became the “unofficial mayor,” working as a community activist and helping to establish vital black community centers and projects.
Bones Hooks: Pioneer Negro Cowboy is Mr. Todd's first published work. When not writing, he works as a chef and
preaches regularly at his church. He has lectured at the Hutchinson County
Museum and at Frank Phillips College on black history.
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