Rogersville

Noted for being Huntsville's oldest African American neighborhood, Rogersville is roughly situated between 7th and 10th Streets and Old Madisonville Road and Avenue N. Micajah C. Rogers, Huntsville's first mayor, originally owned most of the land and began selling it after the Civil War. Although it is not clear whether Rogersville was meant to be an African-American neighborhood, Rogers sold at least six tracts of land to former slaves in 1866 alone what is today 10th Street.

Among the new landowners was Joshua Houston, Sam Houston's former slave. By buying property, building homes, and establishing businesses, including a wagon yard, blacksmith shop, carpentry shop, barber and beauty shops, cafes, and other stores, residents confirmed their new independence while holding a stake in the community.

Churches were central to Rogersville, reflecting the freedoms to worship and gather previously denied the African-Americans. In particular, First Baptist Church, established by “Mother” Sarah Rolling and Reverend J.J. Rhinehardt, strengthened community identity. Neighborhood churches also often served as schools, where students and families learned to read, write, and furthered their education. In 1890, after facing some challenges, Joshua Houston and others prevailed in constructing a neighborhood school. His son, noted educated Samuel Walker Houston, grew up in Rogersville and established the Sam Houston Industrial Training School at Galilee.

Rogersville became the site for the annual Juneteeth Celebration, the major social event for Huntsville’s African-American community.

Overall, Rogerville’s establishments have extended economic, educational, and cultural opportunities to all Walker County citizens.

Images

Joshua Houston Family

Joshua Houston Family

Joshua Houston family. This photograph was taken at the wedding of Joshua Houston, Jr. and Georgia Carlina Orviss in October 1898. Back Row (left-right), Lawrence Wilson, John Wilson, Israel Wilson, Wesley (C. W.) Wilson; Second Row, Clarence Wilson, Joshua Houston, Jr., Georgia Carolina Orviss, George Wilson, unidentified woman, Samuel Walker Houston; Third Row (seated), Cornelia Orviss, Cadolie Wilson, Reverend Brooks, Joshua Houston, Sr., Ellen Houston, Ida Wilson; Front Row, Viola Wilson, Minnie Houston. View File Details Page

Micajah Clark Rogers

Micajah Clark Rogers

Framed photo of Clark at the Gibbs-Powell House in Huntsville, Texas. View File Details Page

First Missionary Baptist Church

First Missionary Baptist Church

View File Details Page

Andrew Female College Building, in Rogersville location

Andrew Female College Building, in Rogersville location

Andrew Female College Building re-located in Rogersville on 10th Street and Avenue P, for use as a school for Huntsville's African American children. | Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Samuel Houston High School Home Economics Building

Samuel Houston High School Home Economics Building

Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Interior view, Sam Houston High School Auditorium, 1950

Interior view, Sam Houston High School Auditorium, 1950

Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Sam Houston High School under construction, 1955

Sam Houston High School under construction, 1955

Sam Houston High School under construction, 1955. The Sam Houston High, the African American high school in Huntsville was built on the western outskirts of Huntsville in 1954-1955. The school replaced the aging high school building that was built in the Rogersville neighborhood in 1931 which had been cited as substandard in an evaluation by the Southern School Association in 1951. After the Huntsville Independent School District was integrated in 1968-69 the building became Mance Park Junior High. The building was razed in the 1980s and Huntsville Intermediate School was built on the site. | Source: Walker County Treasures View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Texas Historical Marker, “Rogersville,” East Texas History, accessed June 26, 2017, http://easttexashistory.org/items/show/230.

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