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‘Gentleman cowboy’ a master schmoozer

About Us: People in Real Estate

Jim Austin is a cowboys fan. That's cowboys with a little C. Austin is a commercial real estate broker and Texas transplant who a few years ago stumbled across an apparent fact of African-American history -- that among those who settled the West were significant numbers of blacks. And that few people today are aware of it. "It touched my heart that nobody had taught me about that in school books," said Austin, who says one-third of the people we think of today as the cowboys and cowgirls of the 19th century were minorities. "Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians worked together to build this country," he said. Austin became fascinated by the topic, and nine years ago he and his wife Gloria founded the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth and filled it with artifacts of the West -- paintings, photographs and the memorabilia of such romantic-sounding names as "Stagecoach Mary," "Bulldogger" Bil...