Friday, February 23, 2018

1950s, Northwest Harris County Texas, YMCA Camp Holden

In 1952 there was no camp for minority youth in Houston. Remember those days? By 1970 all the Houston Y Camps were fully integrated. What I knew in my childhood as the Bagby Y began in the early ‘50s when a property near Cypress Creek in far northwest Houston came on the market. The property lay just down the road from where our family lived. It was anchored by a large ranch-style home on 55 beautiful wooded acres, with a lake and a pool. The name changed over the years to YMCA Camp Holden, then Cypress Creek YMCA, and later the D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA at Cypress Creek. Virtually from day one, the camp was ready to use, serving primarily minority youth and organizations for over 20 years. Notably, Camp Holden hosted the first conference on interracial understanding with YMCAs in the Southwest Region of the USA, leading efforts to desegregate YMCAs across the country. (Thanks to Jennie Stephens and Gary Nicols of the YMCA of Greater Houston for filling in the blanks in my memory.) "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

On the Trail with Black American Cowboys

"Roy Rogers and Billy the Kid may have been the most famous cowboys of the Old West, but one-third of America’s cowboys were African Americans. From the freed slaves who found work on the earliest cattle drives to the contemporary rodeo circuit, African American cowboys have been part of the West’s heritage for generations.

“‘A lot of African Americans went west —— that’s the one place where they could be judged like anyone else,'” said Kevin Woodson of the Texas-based Cowboys of Color, sponsors of the largest multicultural rodeo tour in the world….Many western ranch foremen of the 1850s were African American, Woodson said. African American cowboys were in high demand during the boom years of the western cattle drives from 1866-95.’” (from an article by Kathaleen Roberts, Santa Fe New Mexican, June 29/30, 2013)

“Black cowboys predominated in ranching sections of the Coastal Plain between the Sabine and Guadalupe rivers.” (Teresa Palomo Acosta, Texas State Historical Association online handbook)

Photo credit: from the TSHA online handbook, Black Cowboys preparing for a horse race at the Negro State Fair. Image courtesy of the Erwin E. Smith Collection. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Who is this artist? "Dawn Song", signed JOHN A

I purchased this sculpture at a house sale in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The owner told me that she thought the artist was from Taos. Maybe. I have not been able to identify the artist. Searching the Internet, I have found no other works with this signature.

Friday, August 12, 2016

God in me loves God in everything

The following is an excerpt from Richard Rohr’s meditation for Sunday, August 8, 2016. Rohr is a Roman Catholic priest and Franciscan Brother, O. F. M. [Order of Friars Minor], ordained in 1970. He is founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, here in Albuquerque.

"The True Self cannot really be hurt or offended. The false self—our egoic identity—is offended every few minutes. But if we notice when we take offence, and what part of us is offended (always a provisional identity), this will train us to gradually reside more and more in the Big Truth. (Most of John 14-16 circles around this message.) Thomas Keating charts conversion as a series of necessary humiliations to the false self.”—Richard Rohr

Here’s food for thought and what this blogger thinks about everyday. In these especially contentious times, how do we love our neighbors when so many around us stoke the fires of fear, distrust, anger, and hate? I am deeply troubled by the behavior I have seen for as long as I can remember among self-proclaimed evangelicals. There are no simple answers to how we live out this: God in me loves God in everything. And the Christian religion does not have a unique message regarding our love for one another as inhabitants of the world. All world faiths—Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Native American—teach what we call the golden rule. The law of reciprocity, i. e., the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself. It is a maxim of altruism seen in many human religions and human cultures.

Matthew 7:12 King James Version (KJV) ”…12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” 

Mark 12:30-31, (KJV) “,,,3 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Actions speak louder than words. We must all examine our hearts, all day and everyday. And we must learn to live out our days in loving one another, and then follow through. No exceptions.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Route 66 Indian trading post jewelry

Bracelet, stamped with a kachina symbol and STERLING,
one of the marks used by
Maisel's Indian Trading Post of Albuquerque NM, mid 20th century.
Ring unmarked.
The seller told me that the stones in both pieces are stabilized Kingman turquoise. If you don't want an answer plucked out of the air, don't ask. I guess all that matters is it's nice-looking turquoise, set in older mass-produced sterling silver for the tourist market.