‘Serena, Venus of Her Time:’ Book Released About America’s First Licensed Black Female Jockey
The story of Cheryl White, who was the first licensed Black female jockey in America, is being told in a new book titled, “The Jockey and Her Horse,” which was released on Sept. 5.
White’s story is told by her brother Raymond White, Jr. and Sarah Maslin-Nir, a reporter from The New York Times. Together, they authored the book for middle school-aged children to feel inspired by the thoroughbred racer and to follow their dreams, KVPR reported.
If you’re scratching your head because you haven’t heard of White before, it’s because “Black excellence” hasn’t always been “a part of the American narrative,” Maslin-Nir said in the interview with KVPR. Maslin-Nir said she met White’s family a couple of years ago in 2021. The New York Times reporter came up with the idea to write a book about the jockey and to create a toy so that the next generation of children would know White’s story.
KVPR noted, “The Breyer model horse company, a legacy model toy company, made the first ever real Black equestrian in its 75-year history, and it is a little Cheryl and her winning horse, Jetolara.” The toy comes with the book “as a gift package,” Maslin-Nir said.
According to the outlet, White got her jockey license to ride in America in 1971, and she was the first Black female to do so. According to her brother Raymond Jr., she had 750 career wins, and he described his sister as the “Serena and Venus [Williams] of her time.”
Maslin-Nir said that back then, White was marginalized and “pushed out of the sport of thoroughbred racing to a degree,” probably because of her race and gender. As a result, White’s career consisted of smaller events like “riding in California at the county fair circuit.”
The legendary Black female jockey passed away in 2019, the news outlet reported.