Sweet Home, Guadalupe County, Texas – 1

Sweet Home Rosenwald School, Guadalupe County, Texas
Sweet Home Rosenwald School, Guadalupe County, Texas

Working with Trinity University history professor, and History Department Chair, Dr. Carey Latimore, Ph.D., and his students this semester has provided opportunities for field research in the San Antonio and south Texas region. We recently visited the Sweet Home African American settlement less than forty five minutes from downtown San Antonio. Mr. James Ussery, Mrs. Connie Quarles, and Mrs. Betty Young were gracious hosts at the Sweet Home Rosenwald School. Each shared personal memories of days growing up in the community.  Each offered amazing details regarding the school band, softball team, girls gardening class, boys gardening class, mattress making in the girls home

Mr. James Ussery shares oral history with Trinity University students
Mr. James Ussery shares oral history with Trinity University students

economics class, and the produce canning plant.  They described various ways that families and members of the settlement shared resources, skills, knowledge, and practical wisdom to maintain the community. Sustainable practices such as harvesting rain water from the school roof and use of local materials were part of everyday life. All retain vivid recollections of attending the Rosenwald School. They explained that the school served African American families from miles around, and outside the county.  This made it necessary for a number of the male students to find room and board with nearby families and girls to stay in the dormitory across the road.  Mr. Ussery also took time to guide

Dr. Latimore and students take notes at Sweet Home Cemetery
Dr. Latimore and students take notes at Sweet Home Cemetery

the students to the original Sweet Home Cemetery and point out the original church site, initially known as Elm Creek Baptist Church.  The church name was changed to Sweet Home Baptist Church after a storm damaged the first structure and the congregation moved to its present site in 1906.  The initial settlement formed around the Elm Creek Church beginning in 1864, and was one of the charter members of the Guadalupe Baptist District Association which formed in 1873.  At one point the association covered more than a dozen counties, and more than 3,500 square miles.  A number of San Antonio’s African American churches, such as Mt. Zion First Baptist, were active association members.  Though many Sweet Home descendants eventually moved to the city of San Antonio and beyond, significant physical and cultural traces of the community remain.

2014 Black History Month

Mr. Ruford Shepherd in his Eatonville winter garden
Mr. Ruford Shepherd in his Eatonville winter garden

The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.), guided by N.Y. Nathiri, celebrated and produced the 25th Annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival for the Arts and the Humanities during the last week of January, 2014. One of the unheralded programs was the Eatonville Yards & Gardens Tours highlighting sustainable gardening techniques practiced by current residents, and linked directly to truck gardening courses taught at Tuskegee Institute more than one hundred and ten years ago. Despite uncharacteristically cold weather, Eatonville gardeners displayed impressive products, including turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, cauliflower, and papaya.

 

 

 

 

North Carolina A & T State University landscape architecture Eatonville studio
North Carolina A & T State University landscape architecture Eatonville studio

Professor Perry Howard, FASLA, and his advanced landscape architecture students from North Carolina A & T State University completed their semester long study of sustainable landscape concepts for Eatonville, Florida. A summary video, “Looking Back to Move Forward, The Reawakening of Eatonville”, is now available for viewing. The study covers issues ranging from environmental to human sustainability.

 

 

 

 

“Capote Cross” by Ellen P. Hunt, AIA
“Capote Cross” by Ellen P. Hunt, AIA

Also this month, Ellen Hunt has a special offer on one of her jewelry pieces. The Capote Cross is made from a casting of a nail that came from the Capote Church in Seguin, Texas. The church, built by emancipated African Americans in 1874 is still standing and under renovation. Ellen was intrigued by the rectangular nails, and the thousands of them used to build the church. Who made them? Was it an apprentice in a blacksmith shop in Seguin or did they come from a bigger factory? This sterling silver cross is a reminder of that earlier era and the questions we still have about that period of time in Texas. This cross is available in limited editions. The first one sold out, the second is in production and should be available next week. If you are interested visit HUNTDESIGNJEWELRY.

Descargar musica