Galveston, Texas~ The Menard House
The Summer had just begun and it was time to plan a road trip using our Green Book Traveler for the Green Book Project presented by The Idea Fund. We decided to head 45 mins South of Houston to the Gulf Coast, Galveston, Texas.
The date we choose was very influential. We decided to head to the island on Sunday June 18th as the island prepared for its annual Juneteenth Celebration on Monday June 19th. The Holiday of Juneteenth began in Galveston. Every year they honor this date with reenactments, prayer breakfast’s, parades, and festivities. After reaching out to a friend at the Historical Foundation of Galveston, we gathered the websites and information to plan a fun Historical Trip.
The Green Book highlighted several locations in Galveston beginning in 1939 with two Tourist Homes (Ms. Pope & Miss. Freeman). A tourist home in The Green Book, was a home that you would contact prior to your travel dates and arrange a visit. It would be a safe environment for anyone traveling through the area. One home seemed to still remain (Miss G.H. Freeman), but it was a little uncertain if it was the original home.
Our family was excited and invited to stay at The Menard Home, while visiting the island by the Historical Foundation of Galveston. The Menard home was the oldest and first built home on the island being built in 1838. Mr. Menard was the founder of the island of Galveston and a large Cotton plantation owner. We started the trip off learning, reading, exploring, touring and seeing new things in this fascinating home. We took our time to learn about the founder and diversity of this island from Nick, our Tour Guide during our stay. He was well rounded and full of information that would help us capture the Jim Crow Era in Galveston.
We understood that Galveston was a very diverse community very early on. Being the main port and railway, Galveston was the second riches city compared to New York City at one time. As the city developed and grew different areas would appear as areas for Blacks, Sailors, Rail men, etc.. Blacks could vacation and enjoy the island, without feeling extremely discriminated against. Black businesses, churches, and people were scattered around the island.