Baylor Institute for Oral History Honors Black History Month with Tour of Downtown Waco
Waco History App creators offer Black history tour through downtown Waco highlighting the impact and legacy of African Americans in the city
WACO, Texas (Feb. 6, 2023) – Waco and the surrounding area are full of rich history, telling the stories of the people, places and moments that have shaped Central Texas. This history and the associated stories and images can be easily explored through the Waco History app and Waco History website, developed Stephen Sloan, Ph.D., director of Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History and associate professor of history, and Adrienne Cain, M.L.S., lecturer and assistant director of the Institute.
During Black History Month, Cain and Sloan will lead a Black History Walk through downtown Waco that highlights the impact and legacy of Black Americans in Waco. The carefully curated tour will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at the McLennan County Courthouse, 501 Washington Ave.
“One of those most important, I would say, fascinating histories of Waco is the history of Black Americans in the city,” Cain said. “We have a very interesting, complex and beautiful history here in Waco, and by doing this tour, we’re able to show just a snippet of what some of those histories are.”
Both the in-person walk and the tour in the Waco History app focus on the Black Americans who have held a central role in the development of Waco and McLennan County since the first permanent settlements were established in the mid-19th century.
Cain says the two-mile tour will allow participants to get a glimpse of historical landmarks while gaining knowledge from her and fellow tour guide Sloan. Participants will learn stories of Paul Quinn College, A. J. Moore High School, The Farmer’s Improvement Society and much more.
“With the two of us, we want to make sure we are able to have everyone’s attention and answer any questions people may have, so it is more of an intimate experience,” Cain said.
Walkers are encouraged to pre-load the Waco History App on their devices, but this is not required to enjoy the walk. The walk is approximately two miles in length and is offered in coordination with Waco Walks. This is the second year in a row that Cain and Sloan have led the tour.
The Waco History website features a combination of stories, tours, maps and a robust search engine that provide an educational experience for anyone interested in learning more about the history of Waco. The app currently houses over 200 entries, and more histories, stories and images are being added on a regular basis.
Learn more from Cain and Sloan about how oral historians democratize history and offer tips for individuals seeking to preserve the stories of family or friends on an episode of Baylor Connections in January 2022.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT WACO HISTORY APP
Waco History is a free app that puts the history of Waco and McLennan County at your fingertips. Since 2015, the Waco History digital platform has produced innovative and insightful content about the history of Waco and McLennan County. From familiar stories, like those about Magnolia Market at the Silos and The Branch Davidians, to those that are less familiar, such as those about the Jockey Club Barbershop and Monnig’s Department Store, this platform brings local histories to life. Waco History is a collaborative project with entries created by teachers, students, professors, and community members, curated by the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University. Visit the website at wacohistory.org. This app is available only in the App Store for iPhone and iPad.
ABOUT THE BAYLOR UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE FOR ORAL HISTORY
Through dynamic, recorded interviews, the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University preserves the stories of individuals who helped create the fabric of history and whose lives, in turn, were shaped by the people, places, events and ideas of their day. The Institute has recorded and preserved oral histories since 1970, earning along the way a strong reputation for multidisciplinary outreach to both academic scholars and community historians by providing professional leadership, educational tools and research opportunities. In 2019, the Institute joined the Baylor University Libraries, further strengthening the division for service to researchers and scholars. For more information, visit baylor.edu/oralhistory