Restored in 2008, the Kerr Community Center, with its two-story wood-frame construction and white paint, is easy to identify. Constructed in 1914 by Beverly and Lula Kerr—their house can be seen nearby—the community center provided a haven for African American social activities, lodge meetings, and other functions in the segregated South. Additionally, several prominent black entertainers performed at the center, including the "Grey Ghost," blues pianist Roosevelt Williams. During World War II, the U.S. Army, in keeping with its segregationist policies, used this building as a United Service Organizations (USO) center for African American soldiers from Camp Swift. The Kerrs were music teachers and prominent members of the African American community in Bastrop.
Watch the following video to learn more about the history of music 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
Kerr Community Center
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