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Stories by author "Amy Bertsch": 22

"If it takes a few days in jail to get equality, I feel it's worth it. I feel that's the least I can do," 19-year-old Mattie Mae Etta Johnson wrote in a letter to her parents shortly after her release from the Marshall jail. The Bishop College junior…

James Leonard Farmer, Jr., one of the major leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, said that his experiences as a young college student in segregated Marshall led him to "participate in a movement that would try to bring about change." Born in…

No longer standing, the Sheppard-Watts Hospital served the health and medical needs of Marshall's African American community for more than 40 years. East Texas native James R. Sheppard, M.D., opened the Sheppard Sanitarium, as the hospital was first…

Established in 1881 by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, Bishop College was named in honor of Nathan Bishop, a white attorney and Society board member who supported the creation of a Baptist college for African Americans in Texas. The…

In selecting subjects for inclusion in the initial Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), the Texas State Advisory Committee prepared a priority list of significant structures. For the Dallas-based architects working in East Texas, the Cartwright…

When the National Park Service (NPS) launched the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) as a New Deal initiative, it intended to measure and record "the complete field of ... American Architecture from the earliest aboriginal structures to the…

The National Park Service (NPS) required a "high standard of draftsmanship" from the architects employed on the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), and the three-man team that documented the former Wyalucing Plantation in Marshall certainly…

As New Dealers looked for work opportunities for the unemployed, officials at the National Park Service (NPS) identified a critical need for architects and architectural draftsmen to document historic buildings, like the William Garrett Plantation…

A month after the federal government authorized the Historic American Buildings Survey to document the country's historic structures, two teams of architects from Dallas headed to San Augustine to begin their mission in East Texas. Over four days in…

In fall 1940, folklorist John A. Lomax and his wife Ruby visited Jasper where a friend introduced them to an elderly African American man they referred to as "Uncle Billy McCrea." Documented in most other records as Bill McCray, he had been…

During his Southern States Recording Trip in 1939, folklorist John A. Lomax sought out songs by African American performers and inmates. Accompanied by his wife, Ruby Terrill Lomax, John visited Clemens State Prison Farm in mid-April 1939. The couple…

In April 1939, John A. Lomax and his wife Ruby Terrill Lomax visited Ramsey State Prison Farm near Otey with the hope of documenting more songs by African American prisoners after disappointing visits to Darrington and Central State where inmates…

While seeking folk songs in African American communities, John A. Lomax and his wife Ruby visited two schools for black students in Newton County in May 1939. They first recorded at Liberty High School in the emancipation community of Liberty and…

Searching for authentic folk music, John A. Lomax made multiple trips to the Sugar Land area in the 1930s. First in 1933 and 1934, he and his son Alan visited the Central State correctional facility to document work songs of African American inmates.…

In 1933 and 1934, folklorist John A. Lomax and his son Alan visited the Darrington prison farm to record the music of African American convicts. At Darrington, they captured not only the vocals of inmates who sang as they worked in rhythm, but also…

During their field recording sessions in fall 1940, John A. and Ruby T. Lomax visited the Lufkin area collecting songs that ranged from gospel music to blues to popular 19th century tunes. In Keltys, a lumber mill town then just outside of Lufkin,…

John A. Lomax first met Henry Truvillion, an African American in his mid-40s, in the company town of Wiergate in Newton County. Truvillion worked for the Wier Long Leaf Lumber Company which operated a large logging business in the East Texas…

In his pursuit of folk music, John A. Lomax visited penitentiaries throughout the South specifically to document the music of African Americans that, because of racial segregation and the isolation of prison life, remained pure or relativity free of…

To collect authentic, undocumented folk music, John A. Lomax and his son Alan specifically sought out "made up" songs, ones that had been created and developed by everyday people. In 1934, while searching for the local and secular music of African…

As part of their Southern States Recording Trip in 1939, John A. Lomax and his wife Ruby Terrill Lomax attempted to expand their catalog of folk music by incorporating a wider variety of genres, and the contributions of Huntsville resident Grace…

Folklorist John Avery Lomax toured prisons in the South to record the voices and music of those who were incarcerated there, particularly African American inmates or as his records indicate, "Negro convicts." Lomax and his son Alan, a student at the…

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