March 15, 2017
As we close out Black History Month and move into Women's History Month, this is the perfect opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of two black women - Artemesia Bowden and Dr. Adena Williams Loston - who have had a profound impact on the lives of young adults in our community.
117 years ago, Episcopal Bishop James Steptoe created a school with the intent of providing sewing and other vocational instruction for young black girls in San Antonio.
In 1902, Artemesia Bowden, daughter of an emancipated slave, was named President of the school and over the next 50 years she grew “Bowden’s School” from a girls industrial school into a junior college. During the Depression, when the Episcopal Church discontinued its support, Miss Bowden reached into her own pocket, using her own money to pay teachers and keep her school operating.
Artemesia Bowden grew St. Philip’s College from a girls’ sewing circle with six members to a technical and training institution for 10,000 students which is now the only historically Black and Hispanic-serving college in the country.
Her legacy and dedication are being carried on by St. Philip's current President, Dr. Adena Williams Loston, who is celebrating her 10th anniversary leading the school. Dr. Loston has made a career out of guiding our youth and ensuring every young person has the opportunity to better themselves.
I am honored to stand on the shoulders of these two great women and over the course of the next month, I encourage you to reflect upon the stories women who have shaped your life and the life of the community around us!
Mayor Ivy R. Taylor