NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A play is coming to Southern Connecticut State University Friday night about a real man who broke racial barriers in the Old West more than a century ago.

“People, they remember Wyatt Erp and all of those guys, but we are telling the story of a black cowboy who existed during the 1800s,” said Producer-Director Layon Grey.

That cowboy was Bass Reeves who was born into slavery but became one of the first black Deputy U.S. Marshals in American history.

Grey has brought his story to life in the play “Cowboy.”

“The whole story is Bass Reeves on the hunt and he’s looking for two wanted criminals and they all find themselves in a saloon as a massive tornado is approaching, so you’ve got the law and criminals stuck in a saloon and who knows what may happen,” Grey said.

Although entertainment is first and foremost, Grey says “Cowboy” also provides audiences with a history lesson about the struggles African Americans faced in the Wild West.

“All of my plays add a little dance and a little song, but it’s strictly a drama, taking everybody to the Wild West,” Grey explained.

The show is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Learn more about the upcoming performance and purchase tickets here.