History of the Rutherford B. H. Yates Museum
The Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum, Inc. (RBHY) was formed 1996 in response to the plea from Olee Yates McCullough, M.A. its Grand Founder. She was an educator, daughter of Rutherford B H Yates, Sr. owner of Yates Printing Co. Mrs. Yates-McCullough was a grand-daughter of Rev. Jack Yates, one of the founding families of Freedmen’s Town. She attended Spelman College and received her Master Degree from Columbia University as a Reading Specialist.
Mrs. Yates-McCullough asked us to save her historic family home and other homes from demolition, and to restore them as Museum houses for future generations. She was determined that all children need to know about the heroes of Freedmen’s Town.
The children need to know about the first doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, blacksmiths, and the inventors of the 19th and 20th century. All children need to walk into the homes and churches that the Freedmen built and walk on the streets that they paid for and installed.
And so began the RBHY Museums' mission of “Cultural Understanding and Education through Historic Preservation and Archaeological Research into the enslaved and Freedmen’s experiences in the world.”
The History of Freedman's Town
Freedmen’s Town 4th Ward was considered the "Mother Ward" for African Americans. Some of the first doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, blacksmiths, brick makers, and businessmen and women lived in Freedmen's Town.
Houston's National Register Historic District of Freedmen's Town 4th Ward had the largest cluster of historic homes, historic churches, and brick streets, all built by freed men after Emancipation in 1865.
By 1907 it was 94% owned by the freedmen and their descendants. Today, the few homesteads that remain are rare treasures that need to be protected.
This National Register Historic District is the only remaining urban freedmen's settlement for on-going research and Archaeology Field School Courses, in the US.
Freedmen's Town is adjacent to the parks, downtown hotels, and the Theater District. And is less than six miles from universities, Emancipation Park, and the Art District. It is an ideal destination for Heritage Cultural Tourists.