By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, Ed.D.
History is important. Black history is important! We live in a world that is constantly trying to find ways to erase black history. Without our history, we are lost. If we are lost, then the generations behind us are lost. History helps define who we are, and where we come from. History also holds lessons that we can take and pass them on to the generations that come behind us so that we can continue to progress as a race.
Let’s take Acres Home (also known as the “44”) for example. For starters, the original name of the community was “Acreage Home.” Not much is mentioned on the origin of the community except that it was developed during World War I (1914-1918), and the land was sold by the acre and not the lot, which is how it received the name Acreage Home. There were some early developments in the early 1900s that used “Acre Homes.” These subdivisions included “Roslyn Heights Acre Homes” and “Highland Acre Homes.” Depending on who you ask, they may say the community’s name differently because of how they were raised, or even the time they were born.
Research notes that in the “official record,” that the name is fluid. There are several entities that use the name differently including the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, Harris County’s Acres Home Health Center, the Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library, and the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Development. Some have included an “s” at the end of homes, and others have left the “s” off.
There is a lot of rich history in the Acreage Home Community, and many organizations have been established which shows the growth and progression of the community. The “Acres Homes Transit Company was formed in the 1950’s, the Acres Homes Volunteer Firefighters Department was active in the 1960’s, The Acres Homes Beautification Organization was created by Edna Washington in 1981, and The Acres Homes War on Drugs Committee received federal recognition from former President George Bush. In his remarks at the Acres Homes War on Drugs Rally in Houston, he referred to the community as “Acres Homes.” He stated, “Acres Homes has a proud history. Once the largest unincorporated Black community in the South, it’s quiet, tree-lines neighborhoods were mainstream America-the embodiment, if you will, of the American dream.”
Even though the name of the community may seem irrelevant to some, the history behind it is so powerful. It is historical elements such as these that we are not taught growing up. We can’t rely on schools anymore to discuss any aspects of our history, and I think we have been too reliant on schools to educate our kids effectively when it comes to black history. Learning first and foremost starts at home. The first “textbook” a child will ever learn from will come from the tongues of their parents.
We need to do more. We must do more. I often think that we take history for granted, when we can learn a lot from it. We must be careful before we lose our history. Many people just live in the now and are not worried about the past. My question to you is how can we have a future if we don’t know where we’ve come from?
In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”