Closing out Black History Month - New York Avenue Black History Window Display & Black History Tour February 26th, 11 am


Roadrunner Emporium showcasing Black History in Alamogordo

February is Black History Month and as February winds down New York Avenue as the center of culture, arts, and commerce honors Black History Month with a window display at Roadrunner Emporium and a Black History Tour that is hosted this Saturday at 11 am by Roadrunner Emporium’s co-proprietor, Chris Edwards and Owens AME Pastor, Reverend Warren Robinson.

The window display at Roadrunner Emporium at 928 New York Avenue is the first public window display to showcase Black History on New York Avenue since it’s formation in 1900.

Chris Edwards will begin the tour with a bit of history at Roadrunner Emporium showcasing the bank vaults and commerce on New York Avenue via the Black perspective in 1900 at the banks founding at 928 New York Avenue. From there the tour is handed off to Rev. Robinson who will lead the tour down Delaware Avenue with was the heart of the spiritual Black community of Alamogordo from 1900 till present day. The tour will include the history and stops at Owen Chapel AME, Corinth Baptist Church, New Zion Baptist Church, Holy Temple COGIC, The Dudley School which is under review for rehabilitation by the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, Prince Hall Lodge #11, Vision Ford, Bickham Used Cars and More. Lunch is offered and the tour fee is $15.00 payable at Roadrunner Emporium.

The Tour begins promptly at 11 am at Roadrunner Emporium 928 New York Avenue Alamogordo, New Mexico Saturday Feb 26th, 2022.

"Did you know African history in New Mexico started in the year 1539?

"In 1539, Esteban, an African Moor, was the first official representative of Spain to the Native people of New Mexico at Zuni. He was an adventurer, explorer and original member of the ill-fated Pánfilo de Narváez expedition from Cuba to explore the Florida coast in 1527."

-Source "New Mexico’s Black History Runs Deep," by Rob Martinez, State Historian

Buffalo Soldiers

After the Civil War from 3,300 to 3,800 African American soldiers served in the New Mexico Territory, according to Monroe Lee Billington in "New Mexico’s Buffalo Soldiers: 1866-1900." The soldiers were garrisoned at 11 different forts throughout the territory. The term "Buffalo Soldier" was given to the troops by Native Americans, and it was proudly accepted.

Source -The Buffalo Soldiers by William H. Leckie

Blackdom & Vado

In 1896, Francis Marion Boyer and two students set out on foot from Georgia heading to New Mexico. Boyer had heard stories of the territory from his father who had been a Buffalo Soldier. Frank's family joined him later and together they formed the community of Blackdom in 1901, advertising for other African American homesteaders to join them. Located south of Roswell, Blackdom became the first African American town in New Mexico.

After crop failures and problems with their well-water, the people of Blackdom began dispersing. The Boyers moved to Vado in 1921. There they found more fertile land. Soon Francis Boyer platted his second town, Vado, also establishing a church and a school. The town faltered during the dust bowl but the spirit and history remain.

East End Addition

Albuquerque's first African American neighborhood, the East End Addition, was platted in 1938 by Henry Outley. The addition ran from Pennsylvania St. to Wyoming Blvd., and Lomas Blvd. to Constitution Ave. Henry had a vision of creating a suburban neighborhood, but it was difficult for him, as an African American developer, to acquire the loans he needed to proceed. Instead, he sold or gave away lots to other African Americans. Henry eventually deeded the East End addition to his adoptive daughter, Virginia Outley Ballou. Virginia also struggled to build up the addition. From the originally platted 24 blocks, she and contractor J.S. Jones succeeded in developing 22 homes on two blocks. In the 1950s and 1960s, these and other houses in the neighborhood were purchased by African American families. Over time the addition has become more racially mixed.

The lessons of Black History which is all of our history teaches us New Mexico was not free of the scourge that King lived and died resisting — prejudice directed specifically against a racial minority. The book African American History in New Mexico (University of New Mexico Press) is a good source of personal accounts of the irony that parts of New Mexico, including Alamogordo, Clovis and Roswell, despite having very small black populations, still enforced de jure segregation practices, such as segregated black facilities and schools. A resident of Tucumcari in the 1950s recalls that blacks were buried in a special section of the local cemetery.

Alamogordo was founded as a segregated city and sports and the military forced early integration which became a model for integration throughout the south. There was a time when Black and Hispanic people were not allowed to cross 10th Street. The only banking allowed to them was the First National Bank of Alamogordo which did banking for all at 928 New York Avenue but those individuals could not legally cross the street from the bank across 10th Street. Thankfully that changed.

The African American School of the early 1900s was called the Delaware School or Corinth and the school that spoke Spanish only was the Dudley School. Athletes from those schools were segregated from the white schools of the time. Hispanics were integrated into Alamogordo High in 1946 and Black children in 1950.

According to an article of the 1950’s

According to The Southern School News, Oct 1,1954

“Integration of Negro students into previously all-white schools had been a continuing process in New Mexico from 1948 to the mid-1950s. Problems were not too great; the state's Negro population, about 9,000 amounts to only 1.2 per cent of the entire state population. The communities requiring segregation all are located on New Mexico's East Side, the so-called little Texas, where population centers’ have sprung up from New Mexico's booming oil and livestock industries.”

The article continued, “Alamogordo, a southern New Mexico community of some 8,500 persons, abolished segregation several years ago for the twin reasons of sociological advancement and economic necessity. Supt. Barney Caton expressed his opposition to the principal of segregation, and school board members also agreed that the African American population was not sufficient to warrant maintenance of separate facilities. The transfer was made without incident of closing the Delaware School for Negros and integrating those students in Alamogordo High School and other related schools.”

A look back at the history of Alamogordo and Southern New Mexico though uncomfortable at time is a reflection of the advances of civilized society and reflection is important to see how far we have come and to keep perspective of how much further we can go to create a colorblind society that accepts all people and allows equal opportunities for all.

Alamogordo and New Mexico is rich in history and tales of the past and has a vision of prosperity for all looking forward. Only through the study of our past do we truly understand a path to the future.

Join the Black History Tour this Saturday February 26th at 11 am at Roadrunner Emporium, 928 New York Avenue to reflect and to be inspired.

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