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The First Black Family In Texas To Race Quarter Horses Gets Recognition Thanks To A Special Stallion

LANCASTER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - A local family is making history in the state of Texas. The Hatley family - the first Black family in Texas to race quarter horses - is getting a lot of recognition thanks to their hard work with a special horse.

The Hatley family in Lancaster has a long history of racing horses but more recently it's been about a special stallion. "His name is Black Lives Matter," James Hatley Jr. said.

"With all the police brutality and awareness of Black Lives Matter movement, I think it was the best time ever to keep it going so it would never, ever be forgotten," Keelronn Hatley said.

Last month, they won their first race with Black Lives Matter.

"It has paid off. He's doing what we expected of him," Hatley Jr. said. "We knew who he was when we laid eyes on him. It's something about a horse, you can see in a horse eyes, what he's about and he got that sparkle."

But the best part for the family is hearing their horse's name called.

"To see it printed out, and hear it called was like, 'Okay, we really in business now," Keelronn Hatley said.

A video of the moment went viral on TikTok.

"The horse and the name has really set a tone for what's going on in the world and people have to hear it," Gregory Hatley said. "No matter, everywhere you go, now social media."

Thousands of people were supportive of the horse's name, but others had less positive comments.

"They told us no, you couldn't do that, they didn't want to create any racial hostility and it was wrong," Keelronn Hatley said.

"Even though somebody may not be happy with it, they still got to say the name and once you start saying something, it resonates with you," Hatley Jr. said.

None of that has stopped the family from their mission.

"We just bring awareness, and our purpose is, we want all Black youth in the world to know that you can do anything, no matter what," Hatley Jr. said.

These are just four of the ten brothers and sisters in the Hatley family.

"We have this love for the horse world and we've been involved in it, you know, ever since we was kids," Charles Edward Hatley said.

"It started in 1961 when we was children right here in Dallas, Texas," Hatley Jr. said. "We started racing horse in 1963."

They all continue the legacy of their father and mother.

"My daddy was a trailblazer; we followed in his footsteps," Hatley Jr. said. "When we started racing horses. When we went to the track we were the only Black people there."

"We lost our dad in '06, we lost our mom in '08. We hadn't run a horse competitively since 1990," Hatley Jr. said.

The brothers could remember going to the track back then with their dad and experiencing racism.

"We'd go to the race tracks, it'd be 500 to 600 white people and we'd be the only Blacks there and they'd cheat us so bad," Gregory Hatley said.

Their parents overcoming the odds inspired them to come back 31 years later and race in 2021.

"Everything we've accomplished, we've had to fight for," Hatley said.

Since then there's been much success, and Black Lives Matter continues to race for awareness and equality.

"This is God's plan," Hatley Jr. said. "That's why his name is Black Lives Matter. It has nothing to do with nothing else, because Black Lives truly matter. We just want the world to know that we're here and we're here to stay."

The next race for Black Lives Matter is April 30th in Houston, if he does well there then he would qualify for the finals in May.

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