As the CEO/Director of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM), I work to carry out our mission to collect, preserve, and share the cultural heritage of African Americans in the San Antonio region. In honor of Black History Month, here are some resources for you and your family to learn more about Black History in San Antonio. For more ideas about activities you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit our guide, Charter a Voyage of Learning.
Observing Black History Month in San Antonio
February we celebrate Black History Month. Why does Black History Month occur in February? The relevance of February goes back to 1926, when ASALH’s founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson first established “Negro History Week” during the second week of February. And why that week? Because it encompasses the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass—both men being great American symbols of freedom.
The week provided a special time for African Americans to collectively celebrate racial pride as well as collectively assess White America’s commitment to its professed ideals of freedom. Black teachers in segregated public elementary and secondary schools engaged their students in an array of festivities—plays, pageants, reciting of speeches, essay contests, concerts, and other events.
In 1976, in celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States of America, President Gerald Ford declared the celebration of Black History to extend throughout the month of February. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a national holiday. Just last year in San Antonio, Juneteenth (June 19) was declared a city holiday. Almost 100 years from the inception of “Negro History Week,” the celebration of Black history lives on!
Contributions of San Antonio African Americans
Here in San Antonio, a multi-cultural city with a rich history, SAAACAM is embracing the opportunity to share Black history with residents and visitors alike. A well-rounded view of history supports the foundation for respect and justice. Think about how easy it is to disregard what you do not know. Knowing the history and culture of your neighbors encourages reflection, accountability and helps to establish community.
San Antonio African Americans have been major contributors to the fabric of the city. Free or freed from enslavement African Americans became students, teachers, soldiers, ranchers, entrepreneurs, politicians, preachers, doctors, scientists, inventors, entertainers, athletes, and the list goes on!
Resources for Learning Black History in San Antonio
Our website and our overview video provide a look of the multiple ways to learn about San Antonio’s Black History. It is our hope you will take advantage of some of these opportunities for you and your children. Most of our programming is free to the public. Although the progress of sharing Black history nationwide has been slow, what is evident is that Black history may be buried or hidden from view but it is undeniably a part of American history!
For more ideas about activities that you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit our guide, Charter a Voyage of Learning.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Deborah Omowale Jarmon, CEO/Director, San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM), speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on February 5, 2021 at 4 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Deborah Omowale Jarmon is the CEO/Director of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM). A retired civil servant with a 27 year career in the world of air traffic control, Deborah relocated to San Antonio to be a “close-by” grandmother teaching them the importance of their legacy. Opening a bed and breakfast in the King William area of San Antonio, named for the family matriarch, “Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn” immersed her family in Deborah’s personal mission of love and service for family and community. Upon her family relocating to Atlanta, Deborah realized the commitment of the bed and breakfast would prevent her from spending that quality time with those grandbabies. Selling the property, Deborah turned to community advocacy with a mission to connect the African American community to each other, opportunities, and our history. Her new position as the CEO/Director of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum provides an opportunity to carry out her mission.
Read More About Black History
- “Tour through local cemetery highlights trailblazing African Americans in San Antonio,” Sarah Acosta, KSAT, January 15, 2021
- “San Antonio’s Black history museum secures space at La Villita,” Nicholas Frank, San Antonio Report, January 6, 2021
- “South Texas Negro League baseball featured local talent who created legacy on East Side,” Deven Clarke, KSAT, October 1, 2020
- “Local Organizations to Support to Further Racial Equality,” Alex Fulton, San Antonio Magazine, June 1, 2020
- “Bold art, diverse portraits, intriguing cattle brands mark Black History Month at San Antonio airport,” Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, February 11, 2020
- “Museum hosts exhibit spotlighting African American cowboy contributions to San Antonio region,” Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, February 8, 2020
- “Black History Month: A Texas Family Visits the DuSable Museum of African American History,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, February 20, 2019
- “SAAACAM works to remember, chronicle local black history,” Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, November 22, 2018
- “Representing Our Charter School at the San Antonio MLK March,” Inga Cotton, San Antonio Charter Moms, January 17, 2018