Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Florida Cracker

In coverage of the Florida GOP primary, I heard a commentator get his knickers in a knot over the term, “cracker.” You see, in some circles, calling a white person the “C” word is akin to calling a black person the “N” word. But in Florida, it means something else. Cracker refers to the original settlers of Florida, hearty and hardworking pioneers who herded cattle by cracking whips. Cracker Cowboys rode Cracker Horses and with the help of Cracker Dogs, drove Cracker Cattle. I suspect they even ate Cracker Crackers. The point is, descendants of these early Floridians proudly call themselves Crackers today with not a hint of self-consciousness. The Florida Cracker Horse is alive and well, too, and just might be the closest thing we have to the near-mythical Spanish Jennet, whose genetics found their way to America courtesy of the Spanish Conquistadors and live on in numerous gaited breeds here.

Frederic Remington left us this painting of Florida Cracker Cowboys.

Great article on derivation of the term: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~fcc/main/what's_a_cracker.htm

Keep your eyes open for my upcoming TV show on the Florida Cracker Horse.

3 comments:

Suznollepollard said...

I'm a Cracker, born in Orlando, and I rode a Cracker Horse as a child. Surely proud to be a Cracker!

Rick said...

Good for you! It's funny how many people in Florida are not familiar with the derivation of this term. I took a class in Ft. Lauderdale a few weeks ago and mentioned we were shooting a TV episode on the Florida Cracker. The room got very quiet ...

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