Picture Blogging: February 2013

Views: 17742

 

02.01.13:

2/2/13: At a meet-and-greet for community health centers. With Norman Mitchel, the heart behind the Bee Busy Wellness Center

2/2/13: At a meet-and-greet for community health centers. With Norman Mitchel, the heart behind the Bee Busy Wellness Center

02.02.13:

2/2/13: Got to spend the day riding my Harley through the Texas hill country.

2/2/13: Got to spend the day riding my Harley through the Texas hill country.

02.07.13:

2/7/13: Helping a trans person with their EEOC case. After 5 hours of negations, the employer decided to stop being an ass.

2/7/13: Helping a trans person with their EEOC case. After 5 hours of negations, the employer decided to stop being an ass.

02.08.13:

2/8/13: Bethany Townsend presents on the Houston Trans Community at Rice University. It's strange to hear someone talk about me in their research presentation.  Hear the presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-6G3H7cGKQ

2/8/13: Bethany Townsend presents on the Houston Trans Community at Rice University. It’s strange to hear someone talk about me in their research presentation.
Watch the presentation here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-6G3H7cGKQ

02.09.13:

2/9/13: After about a decade, my drip coffee maker died. This is the replacement. I swear coffee tastes MUCH better when made like this!

2/9/13: After about a decade, my drip coffee maker died. This is the replacement. I swear coffee tastes MUCH better when made like this!

02.12.13:

2/12/13: Gave a TG 101 talk at Galveston College. I have some of the audio and will upload it later.

2/12/13: Gave a TG 101 talk at Galveston College. I have some of the audio and will upload it later.

2/12/13: This is what I came home to.

2/12/13: This is what I came home to after the talk. My dog, Gypsy discovered that the antique chair has stuffing inside :/

02.14.13:

2/14/13: After a renewed push, I have 1/3 of my survey done! http://tinyurl.com/TransSOCII-Survey

2/14/13: After a renewed push, I have 1/3 of my survey done!
http://tinyurl.com/TransSOCII-Survey

02.16.13:

2/16/13: I hate it when my eyes pop open at 4 AM.

2/16/13: I hate it when my eyes pop open at 4 AM.

2/16/13: I got to spend the day with Jodi.

2/16/13: I got to spend the day with Jodi!

02.18.13:

2/18/13: February 18 is quite a special day for me.  I had surgery 9 years ago today. I began HRT 16 years ago today. I got clean and sober 25 years ago today.

2/18/13: February 18 is quite a special day for me.
I had surgery 9 years ago today.
I began HRT 16 years ago today.
I got clean and sober 25 years ago today.

2/18/13: Published new narrative about what really went on at Stonewall.  http://tinyurl.com/TAstonewall

2/18/13: Published new narrative about what really went on at Stonewall.
http://tinyurl.com/TAstonewall

02.19.13:

2/19/13: Our paper got submitted to the Journal of Rhetoric. Yay!

2/19/13: Dr. Rawson and I submitted our paper to the Journal of Rhetoric. Yay!

2/19/13: Working on the Needs Assessment for those who are in HIV care

2/19/13: Working on the Needs Assessment for those who are in HIV medical care.

02.20.13:

2/20/13: Presenting at a conference. Hear the presentation here: http://tinyurl.com/TransSubUse

2/20/13: Presenting at a conference.
Hear the presentation here: http://tinyurl.com/TransSubUse

2/20/13: Working on the HIV prevention needs assessment

2/20/13: Working on the HIV prevention needs assessment

02.21.13:

2/21/13: Lou, Lilly and I presenting on trans issues for doctoral students

2/21/13: Lou, Lilly and I presenting on trans issues for doctoral students

02.23.13:

2/23/13: I got a surprise visit from my brother. He got to meet my dog, Gypsy.

2/23/13: I got a surprise visit from my little brother. He got to meet my dog, Gypsy.

 

Photogenic Riding…

Views: 2152

So, when I have just about any free time at all, I’m generally out riding. I spent today putting 275 miles on my Harley. One of the things I love about riding the back roads of Texas is that there seems to be no end to the various decaying structures to explore and photograph. Here’s just a few:

Anderson-Bedias

Anderson, Texas

What’s left of an old 1850s “sulfur spring” called Piedmont Spring Resort that was famous for curing just about any ill. At one point, this spring had a four-story 100 room hotel which attracted dignitaries from around the US who would pay to sit in a spring that smelled like farts.

Madisonville

Madisonville, Texas

While this motel is still renting rooms, I can’t help but think this place is a horror movie waiting to happen.

North Zulch

North Zulch, Texas

And no, there’s no South Zulch.

Haunted Slave Cemetery?

Views: 4516

Olivewood Cemetery is located just off I-10 and White Oak Bayou right next to a store called Party Boy. The neglected grave yard is supposedly haunted.

Capture

Red arrow points to grave yard

With exposed human remains of ex slaves and thicket covered graves, it is no wonder Houstonians have spun ghost stories about this place for generations.

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Two graves in the middle of the woods

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Forgotten grave site

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A cemetery angel

There are a number of unmarked graves in the cemetery. Before the land was purchased in 1875 by Houston’s first black alderman Richard Brock (who is buried in Olivewood), the land had been used as a slave burial ground.

Pivotal leaders if Houston’s post-emancipation African-American community are buried in the Olivewood Cemetery. For instance, Rev. Elias Dibble (pastor of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church) is buried in Olivewood. Rev. Dibble had lived as a slave before becoming the first black Methodist minister in the country.

Basically, Olivewood represents a Who’s Who of influential African-American Houstonians in the post-slavery era of Texas. Businessman James B. Bell, attorney J. Vance Lewis, the first principal of Jack Yates High School (which was the 2nd black school in Houston) James D. Ryan and “the singing dentist” Milton A. Baker are all buried in Olivewood. Incidentally, Dr. Baker wrote Houston’s official bicentennial song.

Two overgrown grave headstones

Two overgrown grave headstones

Lone headstone in the woods

Lone headstone in the woods

Four graves in the woods

Four graves in the woods

Work is being done to reclaim the historic cemetery from nature.  By chance, I got to speak with a descendant of one of the people buried in the cemetery, Charles Cook. Cook was at the cemetery by himself mowing and doing some weeding. I spent some time talking with him about the history of Olivewood and filmed the last bit of our conversation. Cook happens to be on the Board of Directors for a 501c3 nonprofit that is trying to restore the cemetery. They have a PayPal donation button. I encourage you to give what you can :)

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Seven gravestones

Grave without a headstone

Grave without a headstone

Lone headstone in the woods

Lone headstone in the woods

A now-defunct City of Houston newsletter called “City Savvy” had this to say about the alleged hauntings:

Over the years, there have been numerous reports of mysterious after-dark sightings and strange movements within the graveyard.

Louis Aulbach, a Finance and Administration division manager, heard those stories while working on his soon-to-be-completed book, “Buffalo Bayou: An Echo of Houston’s Wilderness Beginnings.”

“But I remain skeptical,” he said. “It seems people think a cemetery should be haunted, so they make it so. But if they want to scare themselves silly with stories, it’s up to them.”

Cathi Bunn, a paranormal investigator, began exploring Olivewood in 1999. One moonlit midnight, Bunn said she videotaped the ghost of Mary White, buried in 1888, hovering above her headstone.

Intrigued by the anecdotes, Williams stayed late Halloween night, 2004.

“Only haunting I saw were from two big field mice,” she said.

Haunted or not, Aulbach said the important thing is for people to know about Olivewood and its significance.

As noted above, at least one ghost hunter believes to have caught an actual Olivewood ghost on film. In the photo, you can see what looks like fog. This mist is purported to be the ghost of Mary White.

One of two lion heads in the cemetery

One of two lion heads in the cemetery

Headless figure

Headless figure

Another graveyard angel

Another graveyard angel

The cemetery features obelisks, statuary, curbing and interior fencing. The burial ground also includes examples of pre-emancipation burial practices, including upright pipes (symbolizing the path between the worlds of the living and the dead), ocean shells as grave ornaments and text containing upside down or backwards letters (as used in some West African cultures to signify death).


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If you are interested in some of the remnants of Houston’s black history, check out my photo-essay of Freedman’s Town in the Fourth Ward – which is the location of our nation’s most serious race riot.