An Important African American Leader in San Antonio

 

In 1936, G.William Bouldin once lived at 1730 East Houston Street, at the corner of N. Pine, where he would have meetings with mayors and civil rights leaders.  He arrived in San Antonio in 1908 and worked as a Pullman Porter for thesegregated railroad system. He was born in Hondo, Texas on June 29, 1895, and soon after coming to San Antonio established an African American newspaper called the San Antonio Inquirerwhich was located at this location at 207 N. Center Street.  Later, the paper moved to the corner of E. Commerce and Hackberry Streets.  It was while he was the editor of the paper that the Bureau of Investigation began harassing him for articles that appeared in his paper critical of the treatment of black soldiers at Fort Sam Houston who were eventually hanged on the Salado Creek for their part in protecting the black community of Houston, Texas.  In a courtroom at the Fort Sam Houston Post Chapel, 19 black soldiers were racially railroaded to the gallows.  This barbaric act was condemned across the country and was also spotlighted in an article in Bouldin’s paper.

        

G.W. Bouldin was tried and convicted under the Espionage Act in 1919, at a time when the First Amendment was compromised, and sent to Leavenworth Prison for simply allowing an article critical of the mistreatment of these African Americans soldiers to be printed in his paper.  Bouldin was a fighter for civil rights and black uplift, and refused to give up even after serving his time in prison.  Bouldin went on to become a builder, a real estate man, a mortician, and a newspaper man.  In fact, Bouldin operated and owned funeral homes throughout the state of Texas and established Mount Zion Funeral Parlor with the famous businessman Frank E. Lewis in San Antonio. This structure was formally St Paul Colored Methodist Church across the street at 230 N. Center. 

        

According to another black newspaper, the San Antonio Register of July 10, 1936, Bouldin established funeral homes in Halletsville, Lockhart, Lulling, Gonzales, Yoakum, San Marcos, Kenedy, Goliad, and Corpus Christi. G.W. Bouldin stood out as a light and a beacon in the African American community of San Antonio and should be honored for his contributions to San Antonio as a whole.  Bouldin died on July 5, 1936 and his death certificate was signed by the famous black medical doctor, Madison L. Preacher. Bouldin was buried on July 9, 1936 and was an active member of the United Brothers of Friendship, a black lodge.  

       

 The harassment that Bouldin received at the hands of the Bureau of Investigation in the early 1900s was documented in a research book called “Investigate Everything” by Theodore Kornweibel.  The legacy Bouldin left behind helped to create foundational opposition to white supremacy. Bouldin was a member of West End Baptist Church and had a large sent off on the occasion of his death.   Bouldin did not forget where his roots were and was not ashamed of his activities for the betterment of African Americans.  Bouldin was a militant fighter for human progress when San Antonio was as racist as any southern city in American. Bouldin often attacked the racist power structure of San Antonio and the nation and questioned the idea that blacks should be fighting in wars when their rights were not being respected at home. This was a problem during WWI, when the world was being carved up by racist colonial regimes and democracy was absent from the lives of black people. Bouldin needs to be memorialized so that future generations have a grasp of the fight that blacks carried on in San Antonio against racism.

 

 

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