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Meet The Past: Tom Bass - October 10, 2013

Attendees at the Central Library became the studio audience as KCPT taped the latest installment of Meet the Past in which Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviewed legendary 19th century African American horseman Tom Bass, as portrayed by local actor Walter Coppage.


Born a slave, Tom Bass became a world-famous horse trainer and equestrian showman. Though he spent most of his life in Mexico, Missouri, in the 1890s he operated a stable in Kansas City and became the first African American to ride in the American Royal Horse Show. He won countless equestrian awards and invented the Bass bit, a humane mechanism that protects a horse’s mouth during training. It is still in use today.


Walter Coppage previously portrayed jazz legend Charlie Parker for Meet the Past. Among his film credits are All Roads Lead Home, Suspension, The Only Good Indian, and Jayhawkers.

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Taken on October 11, 2013