Monroe Alpheus Majors—the first Black Texan to obtain a medical degree—was never content simply to be a pioneer for African Americans in the field of medicine. Throughout his life, he pursued writing, politics, and education, always advocating for…

Tony DeMaria’s Bar-B-Que has graced Elm Avenue with its unique style of barbecue for many decades. The restaurant is a family-owned business with a rich history that began with the immigration of the DiMaria family in the late nineteenth…

“Tumbleweed Smith,” born Bob Lewis in Waco in 1935, has made a name for himself in broadcasting throughout the state of Texas. Inspired by a tumbleweed that rolled across his West Texas lawn and his mother’s maiden name, he adopted the persona of…

Seeking to provide refuge to children and families in need, the Evangelia Settlement Home opened in 1908. Established by religious reformers Ethel Dickson and Nell Symes, the home aimed to care for the least of these throughout Waco’s community for…

With a bellowing voice and masterful piano playing, Mercy Dee Walton emerged as an early influence in rhythm and blues not only in Waco but across the country. Towering figures such as Ma Rainey and Fats Domino are rightfully remembered as…

Once considered a hub for racist activity, Waco served as headquarters for writer and editor Horace Sherman Miller. An avowed white supremacist, Miller perpetuated and propagated racist ideas in the mid-twentieth century. He printed his newsletter,…

Wildlife expert and storyteller Harley Berg provided entertainment for those across Central Texas in the mid-twentieth century. Broadcasting from the local KWTX to the homes of Wacoans, the Harley Berg Show emphasized the importance of wildlife and…

Prior to the construction of the Grand Lodge of Texas, a freemason-affiliated organization known as the Karem Shriners built the grandiose Karem Shrine Temple at Seventh and Washington. Substantial in size and embellished with Masonic emblems, the…

Urban renewal programs swept across the United States in the mid-twentieth century. Funded by the federal government, cities throughout the country sought to improve local architecture and expand residential areas by purchasing and decimating…

Without the construction of Waco Hall, Baylor University might reside in Dallas, Texas. In the early 1900s, some Baylor representatives pushed for the university to relocate and had already placed parts of the institution in Dallas, including the…

At the end of the Civil War, a new nation seemed to be on the horizon. Emancipation and the beginning of Reconstruction signaled a shift in national, state, and local institutions across the country. The Reconstruction Era, though certainly flawed,…

St. James United Methodist Church, originally a Methodist Episcopal church, has existed almost as long as the city of Waco itself. Founded in 1874 by Anderson Brack, a formerly enslaved man, the congregation started with roughly fifty-three members.…

Tragedy marked the experiences of many during the Vietnam War. On the home front, Americans increasingly questioned the country’s role in the conflict and lamented the loss they watched unfold throughout the first widely televised war. Americans…

On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, heard the news of their freedom. More than two years earlier, President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation to establish the freedom of enslaved people in Confederate States…

Born the daughter of educators in segregated Mexia, Texas, in 1941, Mae Allison Johnson developed an early understanding of the significance of education and equality. Her parents, Allison Johnson and Eula King, met while working at a small country…

For many immigrants throughout the 1800s, the United States seemed to be a land filled with promise. Texas, in particular, appeared to be a place where dreams could be fulfilled. Otto Monnig, a Prussian immigrant to Missouri, believed this to be…

On a muggy, Texas summer night in 1982, tragedy struck. Three Waxahachie teenagers—Raylene Rice, Jill Montgomery, and Kenneth Franks—were murdered in Speegleville Park, near Lake Waco, on July thirteenth. In the following months, a complex criminal…

In 1969, in response to health-care disparities in Waco and McLennan County, local leaders and physicians established the Family Practice Center, now called Waco Family Medicine. Prior to these efforts, many Wacoans lacked access to adequate medical…

Few sites in Waco capture the richness and complexity of the city’s history better than First Street Cemetery. The city’s oldest resting place, it holds the remains of many of Waco’s prominent early residents. However, its caretaking and development…

Two popular amusements at the turn of the twentieth century—staged locomotive collisions and baseball—came together in the life of Crush Holloway. As the story goes, Holloway’s father went to see the Crash at Crush, only to be informed at the event…

As “America’s pastime,” baseball also imbibed the country’s original sin: racism. This scourge haunted the game from its earliest days, but by the start of the twentieth century the formal segregation of baseball was complete and remained so until…

In Prohibition-era New York City, a dose of Texas flair enlivened the city’s roaring nightlife. Larger than life in personality and style, actress “Texas” Guinan commanded the nightclub circuit with her saucy wit. She sensationalized her life,…

In July 1974, Leon Jaworski argued to the Supreme Court that not even the president of the United States was above the law. As the special prosecutor in the Watergate proceedings, Jaworski sought tape recordings made by President Nixon. The…

Music producers generally work behind the scenes garnering little public recognition. Some, like Phil Spector and Quincy Jones, earned acclaim outside the industry; however, others faded into obscurity. Tom Wilson, one of these overlooked figures…