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The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby: The Story of Jimmy Winkfield

Crystal Hubbard

Illustrated by Robert Mcguire

Non-Fiction Picture Book

Ages 6 to 10

Lee and Low Books, 2008, 978-1-58430-274-2

  Jimmy Wickfield was the youngest of seventeen children, and from the very beginning he was a driven little boy who “always gave his all” in what he did. More than anything else Jimmy loved horses, and whenever he could he would ride one. The interesting thing was that the horses “seemed to love Jimmy right back” and he could get them to do what he wanted with the greatest of ease.

  Wanting to be a jockey when he grew up, Jimmy used to spend a great deal of time at the racetrack. When he was old enough he got a job there as an exercise rider and stable hand. By watching and paying attention Jimmy – or Wink as he was called – learned a great deal about horses, jockeys, and riding.

  One day in the spring of 1898 Jimmy was given his first opportunity to ride in a race. At first Jimmy and his horse did very well but then everything went wrong and because of an accident on the course Jimmy was suspended from riding for a year. He did not let this setback deter him however, and when he was able to race again he set about winning as many races as he could.

  Not many people know that there once was a large community of black jockeys in America. But, over time, racial conflicts began to interfere with the ability for these jockeys to race and Jimmy Wickfield and the other black jockeys were forced out of the sport. This wonderfully written picture book tells the story of Jimmy Wickfield to great effect and it serves as a fitting tribute to Jimmy and the other black jockeys who gave their all for the sport that they loved so well.


The Last black king of the Kentucky Derby


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