A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

A Tour of African American History and Culture in Houston

In honor of the month, I thought it would be nice to write a post that was similar to the one on the New Chinatown. Like that post, I cannot give you a complete picture of everything to see, but I think that this may be a nice one day tour to do. I thought that I could improve my description of the tour by giving you links this time around, so I hope that you will try it out.

Houston has always been a culturally diverse city, and many of us forget that there were non-slave African Americans in our community from those early days. One community that developed was Freedmen’s Town. Driving through this part of town you will get to see some of the older homes in Houston. Houston has had a mixed bag when it comes to preserving its past, but there is an organization working on keeping the history of this area alive: http://www.houstonprogressive.org/FTAbrief.txt.

After driving around to see these homes, you could drive over to the TSU campus. I had the privilege of knowing professors there at one point, so I used to tour the campus with them. Around the neighborhood, you will find some murals by local artists. However, if you really would like to see some art, head over to Project Row Houses: http://www.projectrowhouses.org .You will be able to walk through restored homes which have been converted into an art gallery. The project has several programs to help the children in the community, and it will give you a view on contemporary African American art.

By this time, you may be getting hungry, so why not try some Soul food. Coming from a German family, I have always enjoyed oxtails, which I know not everyone will care for, but it is a delicious meal. Bunky’s Soul Food Cafe at 7265 Scott St is a good place to take your lunch. Be forewarned, Soul Food is not for those of you on a diet, but you should go ahead and break your diet to try out some of the meals here.

Houston is fortunate to have some wonderful museums, but we do not always take the time to visit them. You should visit this one of a kind display of history, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum. After the Civil War, the Union Army used African American soldiers to patrol the plains of West Texas. The Native Americans called them Buffalo Soldiers because of their hair. This is an interesting look on Texas’ past. Http://www.buffalosoldiermuseum.com

I am going to detour from this area to give you a taste of my favorite African cuisine. Would you like to see a bit of the contemporary African immigrants into our city? For dinner, I would suggest you head over to the west side of town on Richmond (between Fondren and Gessner) to try out an Ethiopian meal at the Blue Nile. Ask the waitress for her recommendations, but there is one platter that will give you a variety of tastes.

If you have any ideas of where to go, leave your comments down below.


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