Black History Month is a great time to honor, learn about and celebrate our San Marcos Black community. From a larger-than-life jazz icon to The Calaboose African American History Museum, gorgeous pieces of art and rich history – San Marcos wouldn’t be the place we all know and love without our diverse and extraordinary locals.
Black History in SMTX
The Calaboose African American Museum is dedicated to African American history and culture within San Marcos and Hays County. Open on Saturdays from 10am-3pm (and by appointment), the museum is a great place to learn about Buffalo Soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen, WWII, Civil Rights, Ku Klux Klan and general San Marcos area history. They also have lots of Eddie Durham memorabilia! (You’ll read about him next.) The Calaboose Museum will be hosting virtual events throughout February for Black History Month. You can see upcoming events on their website or Facebook page.
Renowned composer and musician Eddie Durham was born in San Marcos in 1906. It’s said that Eddie became a professional musician at 10 years old and he and his family made the Durham Brothers Band. He began traveling and performing all over the United States. Eddie was a guitarist, trombonist, composer and arranger for some of the biggest names in jazz. In fact, he is considered one of the pioneers of the electric guitar in jazz. We are very proud of this successful San Marcos local and his impact can be found by the events and park named in his honor: Eddie Durham Park, Eddie Durham Jazz Celebration and Eddie Durham Jazz Tribute. You can listen to some of Eddie Durham’s recordings HERE.
Historic First Baptist Church
In 1873, the First Baptist Church of San Marcos, TX, a fixture of the African American community, was burned to the ground by the Ku Klux Klan. The church was then rebuilt in 1908 by its loyal parishioners. This once grand place of worship has been vacant since 1986. There is now a mural adorning the front of the historic church with the simple message “Love your neighbor as yourself,” from local artist, Rene Perez.
Making A Mark
The LBJ MLK Crossroads Memorial celebrates and honors the historic efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Baines Johnson in forging the most significant civil rights legislation since the Civil War. The monument is located at the crossroads of MLK Drive and LBJ Drive, the only American intersection bearing the names of both of these leaders!
Celebrate Diversity Our Common Thread – 110 E. Martin Luther King Drive
Just behind the Crossroads Memorial is one of San Marcos’ newest murals, Celebrate Diversity Our Common Thread. The piece was created by local artist, Robert Jones. The beautiful mural honors the many cultures of San Marcos. There are interactive QR codes throughout the mural identifying civil and social rights advocates within the San Marcos community. The piece was commissioned from The Downtown Association, Dunbar Heritage Association, Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos and the Indigenous Cultures Institute. You can find more of Jones’ work HERE.
Veterans Memorial – 133 W. San Antonio Street
Artist Ryan Runcie, a biracial, first-generation American, was commissioned to create a mural honoring local and national veterans who have served in the American Armed Forces. Runcie included the names of the fallen and M.I.A. soldiers of Hays County in the mural, which can be found on the first panel of the mural. What makes this mural extra special and unique is that Runcie encouraged the public to get involved and paint sections of the mural onto parachute fabric themselves, turning the mural into a true community tribute. You can find more of Runcie’s work HERE.
Interested in more San Marcos history and local legends? You’ll find some great stories HERE.