2019 / Editorial / Photo Essay

Delta Hill Riders

  • Company
    Rory Doyle Photography
  • Photographer
    Rory Doyle

A recent article in Smithsonian estimated that just after the American Civil War, one in four cowboys were African-American. Yet this population was drastically underrepresented in popular accounts. And it is still. The “cowboy” identity retains a strong presence in many contemporary black communities. This ongoing documentary project in the Mississippi Delta, sheds light on an overlooked African-American subculture — one that resists both historical and contemporary stereotypes. The project began in January 2017 when I attended a black heritage rodeo in Greenville, Mississippi.

Rory Doyle is a working photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi — the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Doyle’s editorial work highlights populations in the region that are often unnoticed or underserved. His ongoing documentary project on African-American cowboys and cowgirls in the Delta has gained international attention. The work was featured in the Half King Photo Series in New York City, along with two exhibits. He works for a number of editorial and commercial clients. His publication list includes: New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Photo District News and more