HBTSA – 9.2: Hobson City, AL Heritage Bike Ride

Bike Ride T-Shirt / ©2015FLY/HUNT
Bike Ride T-Shirt / ©2015FLY/HUNT

The Town of Hobson City, Alabama will inaugurate a 10K (6.2 miles) recreational bicycle ride today (August 15). The Ride will be managed and marshaled by Atlanta based Bicycle Ride Across Georgia Dream Team Club (BRAG), the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club (MACC), the Alabama Bicycle Coalition (ABC), and the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA). Mr. C. C. Sykes, a prominent Black businessman, operated a bicycle shop in neighboring Anniston for more than forty years. An adaptation of a 1923 advertisement for Mr. Sykes’ business appears on the commemorative t-shirt for this years Heritage Bicycle Ride. MORE….

Scotland’s St. Andrews Golf Club: First Seven Female Members Include African American Golf Pro

Renee Powell, William J. Powell, Mary A. Walker (L-R)<br />photo: E.L. Fly
Renee Powell, William J. Powell, Mary A. Walker (L-R)
photo: E.L. Fly

This week African American golf pro, Renee Powell, becomes one of the first seven females in the world voted into membership of Scotland’s 260 year old Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Renee joined the LPGA Tour in 1967 and played in more than 250 events. In 1979, she became the first woman to be a head professional at a golf course in the United Kingdom, at Silvermere, near London. Renee’s father, William J. Powell (1916 – 2009), designed, built and operated the Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio. MORE….

HBTSA – 9.1: Hobson City, AL Heritage Bike Ride

BRAG Team with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; photo courtesy BRAG Dream Team
BRAG Team with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; photo courtesy BRAG Dream Team

The 116th Annual Hobson City, Alabama Founder’s Day activities (August 14-15) will inaugurate a 10K (6.2 miles) recreational bicycle ride. Hobson City’s Calhoun County Training School was established in 1905. The school’s vocational trade curriculum included bicycle mechanics. African American bicyclist Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (1878 – 1932) won the world 1 mile (1.6 km) track cycling championship in 1899, 1900, and 1901. African American inventor Isaac R. Johnson received a patent for a folding bicycle frame in 1899. Mr. C. C. Sykes, a prominent Black businessman, operated a bicycle shop in neighboring Anniston MORE….

HBTSA-9: Black Towns & Settlements Workshop

Mayors (l-r) Johnny Ford, Alberta McCrory, Barbara Mallett, Bobbie Jones, Darryl Johnson, Ed Jones, Anthony Grant
Mayors (l-r) Johnny Ford, Alberta McCrory, Barbara Mallett, Bobbie Jones, Darryl Johnson, Ed Jones, Anthony Grant

Everett L. Fly and Ellen P. Hunt (Fly/Hunt) have applied their planning expertise to facilitate partnering discussions between eight historic southern Black towns from five states and scholars and experts from seven institutions in seven states. The process began in April of 2014 as a consultation to the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance, Inc.:
Tuskegee, Alabama; Hobson City, Alabama; Eatonville, Florida; Grambling, Louisiana; Mound Bayou, Mississippi. MORE….

HBTSA-8.1: 500+ Graves Marked in Mound Bayou Cemetery Inventory

Ms. Myrna Smith-Thompson and AmeriCorps team assess headstone / photo courtesy of Ms. DeVoyce C. Morris
Ms. Myrna Smith-Thompson and AmeriCorps team assess headstone / photo courtesy of Ms. DeVoyce C. Morris

For the past two weeks an AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) team has been in the field documenting the historic Mound Bayou, Mississippi Cemetery and other historic properties. Ms. Myrna Smith-Thompson (International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor ) and Ms. DeVoyce C. Morris (Mound Bayou Historical Commission ) reported this week that more than 500 graves have been identified. Approximately one third of the graves do not have headstones or permanent markers. An up to date cemetery roster and grave count for the one hundred and twenty seven year old community was not available until the current project was initiated. The eight AmeriCorps team members are also

AmeriCorps team collects grave location field notes
AmeriCorps team collects grave location field notes

compiling information on the appearance and locations of the permanent headstones and monuments. In addition, twenty landmark trees (12 inch, or larger trunk diameter) are included in the documentation of the 5.7 acre cemetery tract.  The data will serve as the foundation for advanced genealogy and community history research and educational programs in the near future.

The cemetery dates from c.1890, and is a contributing property in the Mound Bayou National Register Historic District (48 acres) designated in 2013.

Everett Fly is providing historic preservation, cultural landscape interpretation and field documentation expertise for the project.

HBTSA-8: Mound Bayou Cemetery Clean Up & Inventory

Mound Bayou Cemetery and AmeriCorps Team
Mound Bayou Cemetery and AmeriCorps Team

The Mound Bayou Historical Commission and the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor fraternal organization (est. 1872) is sponsoring an AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) project for basic documentation and clean up work of the historic Mound Bayou, Mississippi Cemetery and other historic properties.

The cemetery dates from c.1890, and is a

Mound Bayou Cemetery Memorial – photo courtesy of Mrs. Myrna Smith-Thompson
Mound Bayou Cemetery Memorial – photo courtesy of Mrs. Myrna Smith-Thompson

contributing property in the Mound Bayou National Register Historic District (48 acres) designated in 2013.   The total number of burials in the cemetery is not known, but preliminary observations by the AmeriCorps NCCC team indicates that there are more than three hundred graves. The team will spend the balance of the week in the field identifying and flagging as many graves as possible before beginning any clean up tasks.  The eight AmeriCorps NCCC workers are also locating the headstones, landmark trees, plots and plot dimensions by field measurements.  The oldest markers date from the last decades of the 19th century and include classical and vernacular monument styles.  Co-founders of the historic Black town, Isiah T. Montgomery and Benjamin T. Green, are buried in the cemetery.

Everett Fly is providing historic preservation, cultural landscape interpretation and field documentation expertise for the project.

Nadine Burnim Fly

Nadine Fly (1917 – 2015)
Nadine Fly (1917 – 2015)

The best teacher I ever had, my mother, passed away this week. Nadine grew up in the rural east Texas piney woods, a few miles outside the town of Nacogdoches. She attended the two room Macedonia Rosenwald School, on what is known as the “Low Douglass Road”, for grades one through nine. Nadine was naturally left handed, but the teacher at the Rosenwald School was right handed, and forced Nadine to learn to write right handed. She worked as a maid and cook for forty seven years.

When I graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Nadine and her sister, Margaret, traveled to Boston/Cambridge for the ceremonies. Then chairman of the Landscape Architecture Department, Charles W. Harris, made time to greet parents privately. When our turn came we went into his office. Chairman Harris casually asked Nadine how she liked the campus in early June. Without hesitation, she began to give her observations about the New England plants, in detail. She was particularly descriptive in explaining the differences between the shape, size and color of the flowers of the eastern dogwood and the southern dogwood she grew up with in Nacogdoches County, Texas. She used the joints of her fingers to describe the width of flower and length of petals. The Chairman grew more attentive as her description progressed. When she finished, he smiled broadly and said “… well Everett, I see where your interest in landscape architecture came from!” I received the degree, BUT Nadine gave the plant taxonomy short class at one of the world’s best universities.

HBTSA-7: UNC to host mayors of historically Black Southern towns Feb. 25-26

Center for the Study of the American South, Chapel Hill North Carolina
Center for the Study of the American South, Chapel Hill North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will host a symposium and planning session for the mayors and municipal staffs of six historically black Southern towns Feb. 25-26.

The symposium, held at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, will address current challenges in the areas of legal and government issues, oral history collection, entrepreneurship and cultural tourism, archive development and preservation, foodways and community health….MORE

National Park Service Highlights NR Nomination by Fly/Hunt

Entrance Court Gate #3 at Buffalo Zoo, John E. Brent, Landscape Architect & Architect
Entrance Court Gate #3 at Buffalo Zoo, John E. Brent, Landscape Architect & Architect

The National Park Service (NPS) website features the National Register (NR) listing of the Entrance Court at the Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo New York.  The Entrance Court was designed by pioneer African American architect and Landscape Architect John Edmonston Brent (1889 – 1962).  Ellen P. Hunt/AIA collaborated with me to research, interpret and produce the successful NR nomination. The key to the project methodology was being aware of “context” in every aspect.  Before we began the project we were aware of the deep significance and national legacies of Frederick Law Olmsted; twenty three Colored Y.M.C.A.’s built across America; Dr. Booker T. Washington; Tuskegee Institute; and Mr. Julius Rosenwald.  Once we were introduced to Mr. Brent’s association with the Buffalo Colored Y.M.C.A. we were immediately able to identify leads to other aspects of his work and civic life.

 

Historic Black Towns Alliance-6: Historic Resources Archival Preservation

1915 Tuskegee Institute class photo and municipal documents -<br />photo courtesy Chaitra Powell
1915 Tuskegee Institute class photo and municipal documents -
photo courtesy Chaitra Powell

Three of the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) top archivists have visited historic Black towns to conduct preliminary field assessments of historic records, documents, photographs, art works, artifacts and oral history sources. The archivists met with residents and government officials. Dr. Bryan Giemza,Ph.D., Director of the University of North Carolina Southern Historical Collection, visited Eatonville, Florida and Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Biff Hollingsworth, Collecting and Outreach Archivist, visited Grambling, Louisiana and Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Chaitra Powell, African American Collections and Outreach Archivist, visited Tuskegee, Alabama and Hobson City, Alabama.  A sample of historic materials from each community….MORE

 

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