The nation’s largest African American Video Oral History Archive, The History Makers, is hosting the Inaugural Reception in San Antonio last week at the Plaza Club and conducting interviews. According to their website, “The History Makers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive, is traveling to San Antonio to conduct interviews for its archive, and to seek partnerships with local educational and cultural institutions, such as Our Lady of the Lakes University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and the San Antonio Public Library.” The organization has scheduled interviews with several people that are knowledgeable about black history.
The organization will be in San Antonio a week and “will interviewed nine African Americans, whose video oral histories will be preserved permanently at the Library of Congress and made available on The History Makers Digital Archive.” Those scheduled to be interviewed are United States Air Force Cyber Strategist Annette Benging; retired research chemist William C. Davis; United States Air Force Retired Major General Alfred K. Flowers; past President of the National Medical Association Dr. Leonard Lawrence; St. Philip’s College President Adena Williams Loston; Premier Artworks Co-Founders Aaronetta and Joseph A. Pierce, Jr.; former councilmember Mario Marcel Salas; the first African American president of the State Bar of Texas, Lisa Tatum; Army Nurse Corps Retired Colonel, Lawrence C. Washington; and the City of San Antonio’s first female African American Mayor Ivy Taylor.
Those in attendance, included City of Live Oak’s Mayor Mary Dennis; INFLUENCE Magazine publisher Cedric D. Fischer; Second Baptist Church Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Robert Jemerson; and Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert’s Chief of Staff Amy Putney, among others. The reception is co-hosted by History Makers Alfred K. Flowers and Mario Marcel Salas. The History Makers, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and “is dedicated to recording and preserving the personal histories of well-known and unsung African Americans. It is the largest video oral history archive of its kind, and the only massive attempt, since the WPA Slave Narratives of the 1930’s, to record the African American experience in the first voice.”
This event is important or otherwise important history may be lost. For Example, during the years 1990 t0 199, Frontline 2000, a civil and human rights organization in San Antonio, was responsible for securing the Texas Martin Luther King State Holiday by threatening a boycott and civil action in court if a Super Bowl was allowed to be played in Houston. The National Football League had already gone on record that they would not play in Arizona unless that state honored Dr. King. The San Antonio delegation headed by Rick Greene and Mario Marcel Salas approached the Texas Speaker of the House at the time , Gib Lewis, and demanded that Texas honor Martin Luther King or a boycott would take place and a suit would be filed in court. Only a few states had not honored Dr. King at the time and Texas was one of them. The bill was being held up by the Calendars Committee of the House which was headed by Pete Laney. Hence, Texas created an official state holiday in honor of Dr. King thanks to the work of Frontline 2000.
Older history is just as important. In 1936 G.W. Bouldin once lived at 1730 East Houston Street. He died on July 5, 1936 after having had a very robust life. He came to San Antonio in 1908 and worked as a Pullman Porter for the railroad, an occupation that many blacks in San Antonio had at the time. Many of them boarded at the corner of Iowa and Pine Street in a boarding house in between duties on the train at Sunset Station. Bouldin was born in Hondo, Texas and soon after coming to San Antonio established a black newspaper called the San Antonio Inquirer. 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 that were eventually hanged on the Salado Creek for their part in protecting the black community of Houston G.W. Bouldin was tried and convicted under the Espionage Act in 1919 and sent to Leavenworth Prison. Bouldin went on to become a builder, a real estate man, a mortician, and a newspaper man.
On November 1, 1917, the U.S. army held court-martials at the chapel at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The military court tribunals indicted the men of the 24th Black Infantry for participating in the so-called “Houston Riot,” Nineteen soldiers were hanged for trying to help a black woman being brutalized by Houston Police, and the need to protect themselves from white harassment and mobs.