Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987 Page: 24
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7exas history is composed of a
rich and varied heritage of overlapping
cultures. Much of this heritage is
manifest in formal architecture and
landscapes around the State. However,
the majority of our material culture is
seen in the folk and vernacular
environments. It is within this body of
"folk" resources that one finds the bulk
of milieus created by Blacks. In fact,
these are so common and familiar that
until recently, there had been a tendency
to dismiss them as insignificant
and unmentionable. But it is becoming
increasingly rare and diffiult to
identify and document intact examples
of architecture and landscapes created
by Black Texans. And the fewer
examples we have, the more critical the
need to study and correctly interpret
this resource category.
In most instances, there is more to be
learned from an historic resource than
appears on the surface. The passing of
time is the factor. We understand that a
building has a "skin", or outer covering,
which weathers or is altered over time.
And that building also has internal
members which can tell us something
about the past. Multiple additions can
be very telling of lifestyle or attitude.
This same principle may be applied to
land and landscapes. But we must constantly
remind ourselves that surficial
clues will be more subtle, or even obscure,
in the land-related resources than
A multi-disciplinary approach is a
must in order to thoroughly address the
various layers of history in a folk/vernacular
resource. Traditional historians
provide a timeline of specific events
which have affected the resources and
an overall regional perspective. Sociologists,
anthropologists, folklorists, and
planners offer socio-cultural input.
Investigations focus on culture, the collective
behavior of people, traditions,
customs, and preservation of oral history.
In conjunction with this search,
archaeologists, geographers, and landscape
architects are collecting data
from physical environments. Although
the architectural historian proffers
some contextual precedence, the preceeding
bodies of information may
provide the most valuable data to the
architect in the interpretive evaluation
of vernacular resources.
More than once source of data will
be necessary to capture the diversity
and complexity of most resources. Utilizing
several written sources, such as a
county atlas, field report, graduate
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by La Barbara Wigfall Fly & Everett L. Fly
Memorial Chapel C.M.E. Church houses a rural Black congregation dating from 1883. Located near Redland, Angelina County, Texas.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987, periodical, Autumn 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45439/m1/24/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.