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Meet the Houston woman who has been making cowgirl history

Written by on February 11, 2021

By Maiya Turner, Texas Southern University

Mollie Taylor Stevenson Jr. and her donkey Lupita.
Mollie Taylor Stevenson Jr. and her donkey Lupita. (TSU)

Houstonian Mollie Taylor Stevenson Jr. comes from a family that is built around Western culture. She has lived a very exciting life filled with a journey of exploration, on and off the range as a rancher, cowgirl and historian.

On Nov. 9, 2001, history was made. Stevenson and her mother, Mollie Taylor Stevenson Sr., were the first living African Americans to be inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.

Stevenson Jr.’s career and life work has always been a family affair. She credits her family for inspiring her to be a rancher and educator. Her husband, Elicious Scott Jr., joined her in teaching and connecting children and adults with Western culture and agriculture.

Stevenson and her mother founded the American Cowboy Museum in 1988. Visitors are able to explore one of the oldest Black-owned ranches in America. Visitors can also take tours and even interact with the family. This, however, isn’t the first time Stevenson Jr. has been in the spotlight.

Gracing the pages in Essence and Ebony, Stevenson Jr. modeled for various magazines. She professionally modeled in Houston, Kansas City and New York for 15 years. She has also appeared in numerous radio, television and newspaper interviews.

Stevenson Jr. has devoted her life to her community and her deeds haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2001, the American Cowboy Museum honored her and the family’s legacy in ranch life.

“When I can come back to neighborhoods, like Third Ward, Shape Center, schools and churches and so forth, I want to be able to speak to children or adults who are unaware of our Western culture,” Stevenson Jr. said. “We’ve always had a part of this, even coming from Africa. We’ve had these traits from Africa with inheritance, agriculture, jewelry making, woodcraft — we excelled in all of that.”

Stevenson Jr.’s ranch is located at 11822 Almeda Road, but there have been many changes because of the pandemic. Visitors must make an appointment to visit and must follow CDC rules.

Stevenson Jr. is a graduate of Jack Yates High School and Texas Southern University.

■ This story was written to chronicle Houston’s Black history as part of a partnership between KTSU2, “The Voice”, and KPRC-TV, for Black History Month.


About the author

Maiya Turner
Maiya Turner (TSU)

Maiya Turner is a multi-media journalist with an insatiable determination to tell good stories. She will graduate with a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Southern University in May.