When we think about the history of African Americans in San Antonio, we are often too quick to relegate it to the city's east side. But - as Everett Fly has discovered - that is far too narrow a view for a city with roots going back 300 plus years.
"We have settlements in every quadrant of the city," says Fly, who is a national expert on historic black settlements. Fly can point to three just north of San Antonio's Airport off the top of his head.
These settlements were usually composed of homes, a school and a church. Today the only thing remaining are the cemeteries. These black cemeteries tell an interesting story of who these people were and often times who they once belonged to. It shows how interweaved the African American experience has been with the entire city.
These black cemeteries also tell another story. In their anonymity - many not protected or on any historic registry - tell the story that whether intentional or not, San Antonio has forgotten this chapter and taken few steps to preserve it.
Fly now works to preserve these former settlements and says San Antonio, a city with preservation in its blood, has all the tools it needs right now to ensure this history is remembered.
- Everett Fly, architect, landscape architect, and national expert in preservation and historic black settlements.
Everett Fly will be presenting Tuesday night, 5:30 PM at the Carver Community Center a talk entitled "Cultural Preservation: Holistic Stewardship of Black History and Place in San Antonio. It is co-sponsored by the San Antonio office of Historic Preservation and the San Antonio Conservation Society