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Mid-1900s children's book about African American child jockey on his own

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Feb 12, 12:55pm Top

I read this book as a tween or teen in the early 1960s. Hardback, wider than tall, printed in black and white with few Illustrations if any. I remember there was enough content to be broken into chapters but it was not all that long. While the format was definitely a children's book I don't recall the language being dumbed down. The book was in decent condition so I believe it was published in the 1950s but my impression was the setting was in the 1930s or 1940s. The child traveled from place to place on his own, probably by hopping trains or by bus. When he had a little money to spare he would treat himself to fried chicken and ice cream at a diner. The reasons the book has stuck with me is that (a) I couldn't get over the idea of this kid roaming around on his own with no adult trying to interfere, and (b) it wasn't until very late in the book that I realized the child was African American. I may have been too innocent at the time to notice other references to that in the book, or just oblivious to the context, but that may explain various adults' lack of interest in his welfare. At the end I think he is taken under the wing of a horse breeder (?) but even then it seemed more like a transactional relationship than out of concern for the child's welfare.

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