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Texas Historical Commission Relaunches Travel Heritage Website

It’s easy to lose oneself for hours in the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Time Travel website. The site is part of THC’s Texas Heritage Trails Program, an initiative that was created in 1998 to highlight historic places across Texas and to promote education about our state history through travel. While the Texas Time Travel website is not new, program coordinator Teresa Caldwell explains that it was recently relaunched to “better highlight the regions themselves and the sites within them.” After spending some time on the site, we can verify that it certainly accomplishes that goal.

There are 10 heritage trail regions in Texas, and it is fascinating to discover historic sites in your area that you may not have known about previously; however, you can also use the “Discover Your Cultural Heritage” feature. There you will find sites grouped by cultural groups – Hispanic, African American, American Indian, European, German, and Asian, making it easy to dig into your own cultural history or learn more about the heritage of the groups that built and settled our cities and contributed to Texas culture.

This is how we found the page for African American heritage sites in Texas. It is a wonderful resource for educators who may be searching for fresh topics to discuss for February’s African American History month and beyond, and for anyone wanting to learn more about the diverse ways that black Texans have shaped our state’s history.

Freedmens Town in Houston's Fourth Ward Highlights on the African American heritage page include the Barrington Plantation in Washington, now home to a permanent living history exhibit depicting the enslaved individuals who built and operated the plantation. Also listed is the Freedmen’s Town Historic District in Houston’s present-day fourth ward, one of many towns in our state established and built by newly freed slaves after 1865 using skills they possessed – carpentry, masonry, blacksmithing, teaching, and preaching. Ongoing archeological and conservation efforts from local organizations have left one of the most intact and extensively documented urban Freedmen’s towns in the nation.

You can also read about the Calvert School, built in 1929 and the largest of what became known as Rosenwald Schools – schools that were funded by educator Booker T. Washington and philanthropist Julian Rosenwald to bring elementary education to African American children in rural areas of Texas. In all, over 120 listings of museums, schools, homes, and churches related to African American history are featured on the website, and each have their own story to tell about the part they played in the history of African American life and culture in Texas.

The Texas Time Travel website is an excellent reminder of why we preserve. Many history books do a wonderful job of introducing and contextualizing historical topics and events, but physical buildings and sites remain as testaments to the events and to the people who were affected by them. It is through these sites that history comes to life. We hope you spend some time exploring all of the regions and themes, and that you keep it in mind as you plan your next road trip!

Click here to go to the Texas Time Travel home page.

Images courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission