La Villita Historic Arts Village is known for many things — it’s home to an array of vibrant artisan shops, unique dining options, and the beloved Fiesta event Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA).
But did you know it’s also a place to learn, experience, and explore San Antonio’s African American history? Founded in 2017 by Everett Fly and George Frederick, The San Antonio African American Community and Archive Museum (SAAACAM — pronounced SAY-CAM) is on a mission to collect, preserve, and share the cultural heritage + untold stories of African Americans in the Alamo City.
📰 The Museum
- Currently, they have three exhibits and a rotating gallery.
- Visitors can take a step back in time to learn about the story of Eugene Coleman and how he made a difference by co-founding SNAP, a weekly newspaper in San Antonio.
- You can view a timeline of VIA Metropolitan’s transportation history.
- The museum also hosts an exhibit dedicated to contributions made by local people + leaders that have shaped our city today.
💻 Digital Exhibits
If you can’t visit SAAACAM’s physical location, you can access digital exhibits like the Buffalo Soldiers and its ties to Military City, USA, sounds of San Antonio’s blues anthem “Cherry Street Blues”, the legacy of the 150-year-old Wilcox Ranch, the last operating African American owned ranch in Jakes Colony, a Freedmen’s Colony in Seguin, Texas (which is also currently on display at the San Antonio Airport) + more.
📚 Community-based digital archive
SAAACAM’s digital collection of archives was created as a place to keep track of those untold stories of local Black history and make it accessible to the public. The archive is a combination of local community-centric oral histories, photographs, and supporting documents that can be found online or at Texas A&M University-San Antonio Library. Currently, SAAACAM has 30 collections in its archive and counting.
💬 Tell your Story
There are a few ways to share your story (or a relative’s) with SAAACAM. The first being the Oral History Project collection, where SAAACAM is looking to collect original stories that include text, documents, photographs, videos, and audio files celebrating the African American past, present + future of San Antonio. Second, sharing your family traditions and recipes, so that they can be added to the archive and elevate the voices of local African Americans and their contribution to the Alamo City’s rich history of gastronomy. Lastly, SAAACAM is looking to document the stories + history of SA’s MLK March, the largest in the nation.
Join the conversation with SAAACAM and Race Ed SA to raise your awareness of racism, unintended biases, colorism, classism, and prejudices.
Black History Film Series
Every first Friday now until November, SAAACAM will show a film followed by a discussion that has some impact and ties to San Antonio at Hemisfair Park for free.
Black History River Tour
Hop on a 90-minute river barge tour and learn about the historical contributions of past + present African Americans in the heart of the city.
Fiesta Family Blues Festival
An official Fiesta event, come celebrate a live musical paradise designed to engage the whole family.
For more information on volunteer opportunities and how you can donate, you can visit SAAACAM’s website.