African American Huntsville

Samuel Walker Houston School

Samuel Walker Houston (1871?-1945) was the son of Joshua Houston and Sylvester Baker, two former African American slaves who worked for General Sam Houston in Huntsville, Texas. During the 1880s and 1890s, he attended the nation's leading black…

Joshua Houston

Born in 1822, Joshua Houston was raised as a slave on the Lea plantation near Marion, Alabama. When his master, Temple Lea, died in 1834, ownership of Joshua was transferred to Temple's daughter, Margaret Lea. There seems to have been little…

Smithers Plantation Recordings

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…

Felder Jones Sr.

Felder Jones Sr. (1913-1995) was an important local business leader in Huntsville, Texas. After the death of his mother and father, he lived with his aunt, Emily Williams Hill, in the nearby Galilee community. Jones attended and completed his…

Scott Edwin Johnson

Born on October 14, 1894 to Scott and Caroline Johnson, Scott Edwin Johnson served as a teacher, principal, and city councilman in Huntsville, Texas. Today, the Scott E. Johnson Elementary School in Huntsville Independent School District honors his…

Wendell Harold Baker

The son of Jesse and Fannie Baker, Wendell Harold Baker (1922-2013) played a crucial role in the civil rights movement in Walker County. His parents provided him with a first rate public education, and he graduated with honors from Samuel Walker…

Bernadine Oliphint

Bernadine Oliphint was born in Huntsville, Texas, in 1933 to Tom and Catherine Bolden Oliphint. She was one of eleven children and was raised in the Smith Hill community. Both of her parents were educated and taught school prior to the birth of…

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church

Following the Civil War, African Americans in Huntsville established their own "Union Church" for worship services and community events. Local black leaders Joshua Houston Sr., William Baines, and Strother Green purchased a desirable…