Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
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Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas

All credit for these articles go to
Susie Sansom-Piper and
the Rockdale Reporter
                      ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS, SERIES 8, PART 2
                         by Susie Sansom-Piper Reporter contributor
                              Rockdale Reporter - 2015-02-12

Editor’s note: This is the second article in the eighth series of “On the Other Side of the Tracks,” a Black History Month series by former Rockdale resident, and longtime teacher, Susie Sansom-Piper

The 40s: Changes and accomplishments

“It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change gonna come.”—Sam Cooke.

During the early 40s, when many of the rhythm and blues singers emerged, it seemed Aycock schools also began a quest for fame, that would extend through the next 30 years.

Eural Norman Davis, Harry Wayne Jones, Johnnie Lee, and Blanche Talley were gold medal winners at the state Interscholastic League Activities which were at Prairie View A&M.

They became well known for their singing talent.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, changed the scenery, for many young men were drafted into service.

After the war, many did not return to their home town, but chose to live in larger cities. Wherever they chose to live, they still created a historical impact on their home town.

Davis was the first black to participate in the Drake Relays.

Ora Viola Scott, teacher and reading specialist, was among the first blacks to become a part of the Texas Education Agency during early integration of schools.

Other notable Rockdale natives:

Charles Etta McKee-Mc- Farland, beautician, Houston; Irvy Lee Bacy, Founder and Pastor, Oklahoma City; Ruthie Mae Johnson-Boney, teacher, Rockdale.

Uline Lovelady, music education, Texas and California; Irene Lovelady- Thomas, beautician. Oklahoma City.

William Vernon Moore, mortician – New York City; Jew Don Boney, college president, University of Houston; James E. Johnson, college professor, Houston.

Lubertha McDow, beautician, Houston; Hubert Glen Lovelady, chemist and inventor; Lillian Bacy, registered nurse, Houston; Flora J. Fair-Mack, teacher, Rockdale.

Rose M. Arnwine, registered nurse, Dallas; Imie M. Banks-Ledbetter, beautician, Houston; Annie Marie Denmon, registered nurse.

Lonnie Johnson, sculptor, California; Artis Ruth Lovelady, teacher. Hubert Glen Lovelady was also a gold medal winner in vocal solos during this period.

This group brought a sense of pride to their community, for they proved that “where there is a will, there is also a way.”

Community love and cooperation still existed during these years, in spite of the fact that the dust-ridden streets still existed. There was no electricity available across the tracks, the outdoor toilets were still visible, however, a few people managed to secure septic tanks and pit toilets (an outhouse built over a large pit).

In the late 40s, under the persistence of the late Frank Owens, shop teacher at Aycock) sewage became available and a little later, electricity.

However the ice box was still in existence, and ice “with a string” was still “toted” to homes and stored in a tub or likeness.

Although labor was still on the farms or domesticated work was yet available, a turkey dressing factory had been built near the tracks, so this provided another form of labor.

This is the 8th consecutive year for Susie Piper to write a Black History Month series for The Reporter, and the seventh year for ‘On the Other Side of the Tracks.’ Previously she authored ‘Ebony Etchings,’ sketches of local African-Americans, for 27 years and also wrote a series entitled ‘Just Folks’ and ‘Way Back When.’
Part of Black History Month display at Lucy Hill Patterson Memorial Library.
Photo by Mike Brown - Rockdale Reporter