by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Mexico, Missouri claims the title of “Saddle Horse Capital of World” And they have a museum to prove their claim. Much of their exhibit is dedicated to Tom Bass. His mother was a slave and his father a white Boone County plantation owner known for his fine horses.
By the year 1862 William Bass, Tom's father, was taking his three-year-old son for rides across his vast plantation.
As an 18-year-old Bass moved to Mexico to become an apprentice of Joseph Potts, an influential horseman and owner of the Mexico Horse Sales Company. In 1892, Bass and his wife moved to Kansas City, Missouri to open a livery stable and eventually helped start the American Royal Horse Show. Tom Bass was the first African-American to exhibit a horse at the American Royal.
I've been to the museum. It's worth your time if you like horses (or history).