Leavin' a Testimony: Portraits from Rural Texas

Overview

First settled by Stephen F. Austin's colonists in the early nineteenth century, Colorado County has deep roots in Texas history. Mainly rural and agrarian until late in the twentieth century, Colorado County was a cotton-growing region whose population was about evenly divided between blacks and whites. These life-long neighbors led separate and unequal lives, memories of which still linger today. To preserve those memories, Patsy Cravens began interviewing and photographing the older residents of Colorado County...

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Leavin' a Testimony: Portraits from Rural Texas

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Overview

First settled by Stephen F. Austin's colonists in the early nineteenth century, Colorado County has deep roots in Texas history. Mainly rural and agrarian until late in the twentieth century, Colorado County was a cotton-growing region whose population was about evenly divided between blacks and whites. These life-long neighbors led separate and unequal lives, memories of which still linger today. To preserve those memories, Patsy Cravens began interviewing and photographing the older residents of Colorado County in the 1980s. In this book, she presents photographs and recollections of the last generation, black and white, who grew up in the era of Jim Crow segregation.

The folks in Colorado County have engrossing stories to tell. They recall grinding poverty and rollicking fun in the Great Depression, losing crops and livestock to floods, working for the WPA, romances gone wrong and love gone right, dirty dancing, church and faith, sharecropping, quilting, raising children, racism and bigotry, and even the horrific lynching of two African American teenagers in 1935. The Colorado County residents' stories reveal an amazing resiliency and generosity of spirit, despite the hardships that have filled most of their lives. They also capture a rural way of life that was once common across the South, but is now gone forever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292713055
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006
  • Series: Focus on American History Series
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Patsy Cravens is a photographer, artist, writer, and video producer in Houston. Some of her photographs been displayed in the traveling exhibition, "Colorado County Memories: Everyone Has a Story to Tell." She also wrote and produced an award-winning oral history documentary called Coming Through Hard Times, which was based in Colorado County and has appeared on PBS.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by John B. Boles
Acknowledgments
Introduction

The Stories

Ethel and Hattie Lee Wilson
Ivory "Pie" Steward
"Kasper's Meat Market, Since 1917"
Jack Fields
George Braziel
Eva Mae Glover
Bennie Charles "B.C." Glover
Myrtle Glover Toliver
Leroy Glover
Ida Mae Mitchell
Charles Trefny Jr.
Emma and Charles Trefny Sr.
Charles Trefny Talks about the River
Rosie Lee Hasty
Hosie "Sonny" Hasty
Odie D. Townsend
Lillie and Richard Freis
Elizabeth "Lillie" Lemons Atkinson
Jaynice and Jodie Feyrer
Rosezena Woodson
Romona Woodson Cheeks
Cassie Woodson McGrew
Mary Hausner
Lillie Williams
Marie Williams
G.A. "Big Boy" Williams
Walter Williams
Lee Andrew Williams
Lillie Williams Barnes and Wilbert Barnes
Oliver "Junior" Williams
Lisa Williams
Alex Williams, Tycie Williams, and Tennille Almeida
Quentin Steitz
Truman McMahan
Lonzo Dorn
Beulah Dorn
LaVon Simpson and Mary Ann Nicholson
Willie Beyer
Willie Walchar
Bud Greak
Isabel M. Garcia
Mamie Johnson
Clarence Johnson
Dorothy Lain
Leora and Lewis "Bug" Henry
Ruby Hicks
Jim Kearney
Paulina van Bavel Kearney
Sarah Elaine Kearney
Lacey Henry
Pearl Ray Bremby
Bessie Mae Williams
Irizola Wilson
Early Wilson
Sadie and George Dorn
Lillie Kahlden Freis
Lonnie Coleman
Roy Lee Coleman
Willie Mae Denley
W.B. "Bennie" Isgrig
Ernest Brown
Emma Stancik
Lillie Poenitzsch
JoAnn Vornsand
H.C. Taylor
Andrew Jackson Gillespie
Jim Carter
Josephine Carter
Harvey and Ruth Steward
Mary Mann and Rev. Melvin Jack Williams
Selma and Walter "Jack" Johnson Jr.
Juan Ybarbo
Stella Taylor
Tracy Vlasta Koller
Father Victor Schmidtzinsky
Melvin Houston
Heine and Earlyne Beken
The Pesak Brothers
Olga Mae Hefner
Em Hay
Herbert Baines
Leila Jackson
Medie Mae Scott
Henry Grays
Joe and Nicolasa Ramirez
RoseLee and Frankie Neiser
Henry Lee Williams
Gabriel Almeida
John Webb

Afterword by Bob Patten

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