Historically Black College
after his experience in Marshall, J. W.'s travels brought him to
Austin, the capital city of Texas. By the afternoon of the second day
of his stay he had completed his business calls, and he took a stroll
along the broad avenue leading to the State Capitol building. It was a
beautiful day, and J. W. almost imagined that he was in Washington, as
he approached the majestic State building, which is patterned after
the nation's Capitol.
He admired the building and
grounds for a time, and then followed a street which turned to the
right. He had gone several blocks past comfortable dwellings when he
saw that he was approaching some sort of a public or semi-public
institution. Imposing brick buildings, occupying three of the four
corners formed by two intersecting streets, presented themselves to
view. In front of one of them stood an automobile, and just as J. W.
reached the spot a well-dressed Negro came out and started toward the
machine. As the two men met J. W. paused and said, "Pardon me,
but would you mind telling me what this institution is?"
" This," said the
Negro, "is Samuel Huston College, a school for Negroes operated
by the Methodist Episcopal Church."
" That's the church to
which I belong," said J. W. " I guess I must be one of the
stockholders of the institution."
" I am very glad to
meet you," said the Negro. " Possibly you would like to go
through the buildings."
" That would be a
pleasure, I am sure," replied J. W., remembering his experience
at Marshall, "but you were just leaving. I must not detain
" Well, I was going
over to the athletic field, where our boys are playing baseball with a
visiting team today. I expect the game has already begun, and a few
minutes won't make any difference."
" That sounds
interesting," said J. W. "I used to play baseball
" Perhaps you would
like to go over to the game first," proposed the other. "I
would be pleased to have you ride along, if you care to do so."
" Why, certainly, I'll
go with you," said J. W. promptly.
" Before we start let me
explain to you what these buildings are," continued his guide.
"This first one is our main college building. We call it Burrowes
Hall, in honor of a friend from Maine who helped the school generously
in the early days. The school itself, as you perhaps know, was named
after an Iowa farmer named Samuel Huston, who helped liberally when
the work was in its first stages. The large brick building is our
dormitory, and the other brick building on the opposite corner is
devoted to industrial training. The building across the street from us
is the Eliza Dee Industrial Home of the Woman's Home Missionary
Society. I have not seen all of the Society's Homes, but I understand
that this is one of the best and most beautiful of them all."
By this time J. W. and his
new friend were in the car, and on their way to the ball game. As they
went the Negro continued: "This school has had a rather unusual
history. For many years the colored people of Texas worked to get it
started, but they didn't have very good luck. They got as far as the
basement of one building, and it stood for sixteen years exposed to
the weather, unused. It was only about twenty years ago that Dr. R. S.
Lovinggood came to open the school. He found birds nesting in the
rafters, and pigs and goats sleeping in the partly completed basement.
The story of his work in building this school is one of the romances
of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the South. Dr. Lovinggood was a
remarkable man. When he came there was some opposition to the school
being established where it is, but when he died the mayor of Austin
and the City Council attended the funeral in a body. Colonel E. M.
House, who lived in Austin, said that Dr. Lovinggood was one of the
greatest educators the Negro race had ever produced."
" It sounds as though
we had come to a band concert instead of a ball game," said J. W.
as the car approached the inclosed grounds from which music and
shouting were heard.
" Yes, we have a pretty
good college band, and they always get out on occasions like
this," said his companion.
Just then the car passed
inside the gates, but no one noticed it, for everybody's attention was
fixed on something far more important. A home team player had just hit
a ball into deep center, and the runner who had been on second had
already passed third base and was well on his way home. The band was
playing boisterously, and several hundred students and friends in the
grandstand were jumping, shouting, and waving their hands in approved
" I haven't heard
anything like that since I was in college," said J. W. when the
runner had crossed the plate and the uproar had somewhat subsided.
"It does me good just to hear the shouting." Although he
spoke casually, he was conscious inside that he was far more surprised
than he was willing to show. He never had seen a ball game played by
colored teams, and he hadn't quite pictured the thing in his mind
before. Baseball was what it was, to be sure, no matter who played it,
but in his heart he knew that this game was much more like what he had
been accustomed to in his own college days than he had expected.
He stayed through the
remaining innings of the game, the home team winning handily, to the
delight of the assembled crowd. Then he rode with his new friend back
to his hotel.
As they neared the hotel J.
W. turned suddenly to his companion and said, "Here I have been
with you most of the afternoon and you haven't told me a thing about
yourself. I take it for granted you are one of the teachers at Samuel
Huston College or connected with the school in some way?"
" Yes, sir," said
the Negro. "I do some teaching there. I am also the president.
That was my house next to the Eliza Dee Home. I am not sure that I
pointed it out to you."
" President? And here
I've been monopolizing you all afternoon! Well, I'll admit it has been
a pleasure to be with you and to see that game, even if our meeting
was a little informal," said J. W. "In the future I'll know
what folks are talking about, anyway, when they say 'Samuel Huston
College.' I am ready to believe on the spot that you are doing a great
work for your people."
" Well, we think we are
doing some things worth while," said the president, "but it
is by the help of folks like you, who have had the faith to support
the institutions of the church even when they didn't know all about
them. That has made our work possible. You know there is a verse in
the Bible which says, 'Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet
have believed.' Sometimes I think of that verse in connection with our
many friends who have never seen what we are doing and yet have
believed in us enough to help."
Sketch from J.W.
Thinks Black by Jay Samuel Stowell
- 1922 -