This museum sits a stone's throw from the original site of Kendleton, a freedmen's town founded shortly after the Civil War on the banks of the San Bernard River. The museum focuses on the lives of African Americans in the surrounding area. The museum's permanent exhibits depict the lifestyles of African American settlers and residents from 1865-1965. Rotating displays focus on topics of interest like African American politics and church history (Barbara Jordan's father was a minister in one of the local churches). Of particular interest is the museum's genealogy corner, where volunteers assist individuals on researching family history. The museum also hosts activities, such as quilting workshops, heritage days, local art displays, and an emancipation reenactment.
Bates Allen Park, where the museum is located, also features a variety of other recreational opportunities with plenty of amenities, including restrooms, barbecue pits, a playground, a fishing pier, and boat launch. There are two cemetery sites along the river, some of the last remaining signs of the original Kendleton community site. Included in the cemetery is the grave marker for Benjamin Franklin Williams, a former slave who rose to prominence as a preacher, community activist, and Texas legislator before settling in the area and accepting an appointment as Kendleton's first postmaster.
Watch the following video to learn more about recording oral histories in Texas African American communities. This video was produced for inclusion in the African Americans in Texas mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. For more information about the mobile tour and African American cultural heritage in Texas, visit the African American Heritage theme page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-african-american-heritage
FBC Heritage Unlimited Museum