At night, Yates ran a printing school that included some of the white pressmen from the newspaper. Once when they ran into a problem they didn’t know how to solve, they called on Yates for assistance. He refused to help until the newspaper management agreed to hire black pressmen.
In 1994, Whitting donated her father’s house to the Heritage Society, which moved the two-story simplified Greek Revival structure to its 10-acre complex of 10 historic houses in downtown’s Sam Houston Park, which also includes a mid-19th-century cottage from the Fourth Ward.
Rutherford B.H. Yates’ house, which still stands in the old Fourth Ward, houses a museum on the history of black printing with exhibits on the printed word, art, historic preservation and African-American history.
Roy also takes tours to the Trinity United Methodist Church, the oldest African-American church in Houston, which has 14 stained-glass windows depicting scenes from African-American history.
Another interesting stop in Houston is Project Row Houses in the Third Ward, an ongoing public art project that has become a model for the reclamation of inner-city neighborhoods. Ten of 22 renovated shotgun-style houses are used for a variety of art projects, with exhibition space and educational and community service programs.
Roy also tells the story of the 1917 clash between soldiers of the all-black 24th U.S. Infantry stationed at the former Camp Logan near Houston and local law enforcement officials and citizens over Houston’s Jim Crow laws at what is today’s Memorial Park.
Known as the Camp Logan Riot, it lasted nearly all night and resulted in the deaths of four soldiers and 16 civilians. The rioting soldiers were tried at three courts-martial, with 19 being executed and 41 given life sentences.
Houston’s Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, founded 11 years ago by a Vietnam veteran and African-American military historian, is the only museum in the United States solely dedicated to preserving the legacy of African-American soldiers from the Revolutionary War to the present.
The American Cowboy Museum preserves the Western heritage of African-Americans, along with Hispanics, Native Americans and women. Open by appointment, it is on the Taylor-Stevenson Ranch, a black-owned working ranch for more than 100 years within sight of the Houston skyline.