The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin is located on the city’s near east side. It’s next to the Carver Branch Library, which once was the only public library open to Blacks in Austin.
The museum has a wonderful light filled atrium lobby. Please see the photos below. It’s like walking into a forest clearing. The museum encourages people to think about and to be proud of their family’s history, no matter who their family may be.
I saw a wonderful exhibit on Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S. I did not realize until I saw the exhibit that slaves in Texas were the last in the US to learn that they had been set free. They learned this two and half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was official. That’s a long time to be forced to work for free.
The Emancipation Proclamation was first read in Texas at Galveston in 1865. As far as I know, no plaque has been placed in Galveston to commemorate this historical event, but one has been planned.
Also in the museum are photographs and historical accounts of Austin African-American families. I found the map displaying locations of early African American communities in Austin to be very interesting. I knew about a couple of early communities on the West side of town, but I did not realize that there were others around town.
Bernadette M. Phifer (above) is the Carver Museum’s Curator. When I inquired about Austin’s original Emancipation Park, she told me that it was now a housing development located across from Rosewood Park, where Austin’s official Juneteenth is now celebrated.
Jewel Boswell Hudson, is a docent at the Carver Museum. Her radiant smile welcomes visitors to the museum.
Both women are impeccably and professionally groomed. They are a credit to Austin and to the George Washington Carver Musuem.