Heritage, 2011, Volume 3 Page: 27
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moved downtown to Sam Houston Park in 1994 and
restored by the Harris County Heritage Society.
Because of Yates' formidable example, each of his children
finished college and became educators, including son
Rutherford Birchard Hayes. Graduating in 1906 with a
degree in printing from Bishop College, the institution his
father helped establish, Rutherford taught school for several
years in Palestine and Dallas, as well as Louisiana, before
returning to Houston in 1908. Yates, wife Erie, and their
three children, Johnnie Mae, Olee, and Rutherford, Jr., lived
in his boyhood house until their new home (now the R.B.H.
Yates Museum) was completed in 1912. The structure was
built on an adjoining lot, part of several parcels of property
purchased by his father.
In 1922, Rutherford opened the Yates Printing Company
with his brother Paul and trained many young African-
American men to be printers. In addition to running this
business, R.B.H. Yates was an educator, writer (he and his
brother Paul wrote a book about their father), and church
deacon who worked to provide services for Freedmen's Town,
including streetcars and paved roads.
After Rutherford Yates' death in 1944, his family's legacy
remained strong in the minds of many in the community.
So much so, that in 1995 Gladys House, resident and activ-
ist in the National Register District of Freedmen's Town in
Houston, contacted preservationist Catherine M. Roberts
about the possibility of purchasing Rutherford Yates' home.
The three-bedroom, one-story Queen Anne cottage had been
vacant since the mid-1980s, and House knew the historic
home was endangered, having been put on the city's demoli-
tion list. Roberts met Rutherford's 80-year-old daughter and
former educator, Olee Yates McCullough, who envisioned a
printing museum that would preserve the legacy of her fam-
ily and the Freedmen's Town community. Eventually, Roberts
purchased the Yates home after several failed attempts to find
a buyer. She raised more than $130,000 to restore the struc-
ture while preserving its architectural integrity.
The Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum was incorporated on
December 26, 1996, and officially opened in 1997. Sadly,
Olee McCullough died before seeing her vision come to
fruition. The museum stands as a testament to the Yates fam-
ily members who were inspired to redefine and create a better
life for a people once enslaved. Their legacy has left a visible
and lasting mark on Houston's history and paved the way for
a brighter future for subsequent generations of African
Debra Blacklock-Sloan is the historic research director for the
Opposite page, left to right: Reverend Jack Yates, his son
Rutherford, and granddaughter Olee Yates McCullough. All
images are courtesy of the Yates Museum.
U l i i!!! il i i i
THE RUTHERFORD B.H. YATES MUSEUM,
The Yates Museum's mission is to promote ar-
cheological research, preserve historic structures on
original homesteads, promote education, art, print-
ing, and the cultural history of the African diaspora,
as well as provide internships for students studying
architecture, history, and science. The history of the
endangered Freedmen's Town community remains
vibrant through a permanent exhibit and the study of
objects, memories, documentation, education, and
outreach. The museum is one of six historic struc-
tures located on 10 archeological sites that are now
owned by the organization and form part of a pro-
posed Educational and Cultural Corridor@.
The archeological research is conducted by Yates
Community Archaeology Project. It is an ongoing ar-
cheology project which, as funds permit, takes place
on properties that the museum owns, or has access
to through an affiliation with other community mem-
bers.The work has included archeology field classes
for three local universities, mitigation and research
archeology on Freedmen's Town properties, oral his-
tory and ethnographic research, and a wide variety of
both outreach and educational activities.
The Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum is located at
1319 Andrews and 1314 Andrews Streets, Houston,
TX 77019, in the National Historic District of Freed-
To assist the R.B.H. Yates Museum, contact www.
yatesmuseum.org, or call 713-739-0163.
Editor' Note: The dual treatment of the word archeology
(and archaeology) is intentional because the Yates Community
Archaeology Project uses a style that is different from the one in
Texas HERITAGE magazine.
Volume 3 2011 I TEXASHERITAGE 27
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 3, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254222/m1/27/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.