Kansas City, MO – This weekend, the American Royal inaugurated a new warm-up arena for its horse shows. It's named after a pioneering horseman from Mexico, Missouri. Tom Bass is remembered by riding enthusiasts for his skill in training and showing saddlebred horses. His accomplishments are more striking, because he was an African American during Reconstruction, but became one of top trainers and showmen of his era. Some see Bass as the man who integrated professional sports. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross looked into the history of Tom Bass and sought out perspectives on his legacy from Anthony Arnold and Patricia Jackson of the Tom Bass Riders, UMKC History Professor Pellom McDaniels, and American Royal President Jim McNair.
For more information about Tom Bass, check out the Audrain County Historical Society.