Friday, February 9, 2018

Myth Debunked: Bass Reeves was NOT the Inspiration for THE LONE RANGER

For almost a decade there has circulated a myth that falsely suggested an African-American U.S. Deputy Marshal named Bass Reeves was the inspiration for the fictional character of The Lone Ranger. Triggered by recent folklore and influenced by racial bias, the myth circulated across the internet like wildfire. With a lack of concern for factual documents, many on the internet mistook myth for fact. While the real life of Bass Reeves deserves to be better-known, it is unfortunate that this fanciful “inspiration for the Lone Ranger character” theory is what has brought him additional attention.  

Besides documenting the true accomplishments of Reeves, a book published a decade ago caused unnecessary confusion by falsely suggesting he was the inspiration for the fictional character of The Lone RangerFollowing examination in archives across the country, it was discovered that three individuals, living in two different states, were responsible for the formation of The Lone Ranger. On top of this, proof was found that The Lone Ranger was intentionally patterned off of Robin Hood and Tom Mix, debunking the myth that one person deliberately created a children's program based on a historical figure that was never printed in reference books until two decades later. 

Type Bass Reeves on a standard google search and you will find websites claiming he was the inspiration for the Masked Man, but no archival or historical documents proving this statement. Thankfully, a recent 22-page thesis was published, now available as a free eBook (in PDF format), debunking the myth in detail. Also included are reprints of archival documents to back up the facts.

A link to that free PDF can be found below.

Bloggers today would provide a good turn to Bass Reeves by documenting his accomplishments, rather than repeating a myth that diverts attention from his achievements. You can also do Bass Reeves (and The Lone Ranger) a good turn by sharing this pdf on your blog, newsletter, Facebook page and other venues to get the word around. The author and publishing company is giving this away for free. And the next time someone on Facebook or social media reprints the myth, you can provide them this link.