Unique exhibit in Houston highlighting the history of Black newspapers in the city

An exhibit at Houston City Hall is putting history on display in a unique way. The Steppin' Back in Time exhibit in the Rotunda at Houston City Hall isn’t only something to see, complete with interactive QR codes, it is something to experience.

"The Black newspapers photo exhibit is a unique opportunity to explore the history of African American newspapers in Houston," says Houston City Council Member Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz.

Featuring photographs and front page headlines from days gone by, like one from May 1923, which cost a hard-earned seven cents, the display showcases 130 years of work from two Black-owned newspapers, The Texas Freeman and Houston Informer.

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"By preserving these newspapers and photographs we can better understand the struggles and successes of the African-American community in Houston," adds Dr. Evans-Shabazz.

Typically taking a look at an outdated newspaper means you may be left in the dark but in this case, it's just the opposite. "You have the opportunity to see what was and what is. The Houston Informer, the oldest Black published newspaper West of the Mississippi River, since October 1893. It’s the third oldest in American history," explains Houston Informer Publisher Lorenza Butler Jr. who has held that title for 26 years.

"If you want to know why you are where you are you have to know the history that preceded you and then that will help you to forge a way for the future," explains Houston Activist Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad.

"There are many moments of history here but what I most want to add to the story is the unbelievable power of the early Black business and the stories behind them," says Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

For instance, do you know Hobart Taylor and how he became Houston’s first Black millionaire? This exhibit tells you all about him and so many more including Houstonian Vance Lewis. "He was admitted to the Supreme Court, and he founded the first Black bank here in Houston," Butler adds.

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"Their success represents resilience, strength, and solidarity during times of oppression," says City of Houston Director of Office of Business Opportunity Marsha Murray.

All the articles highlight history in Houston for Blacks and they showcase the important role African American newspapers have played during the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. "This is a powerful story. It is a story that says African Americans are not handout communities they are communities that have long since pulled themselves up by the bootstraps," adds the Congresswoman.

"It gives us an opportunity to be able to reflect on where we've been, to be able to learn, and for me as a council member to really understand the sacrifices of those who came before me," says Houston Council Member Edward Pollard.

The Steppin' Back in Time exhibit is free and will be on display beginning Wednesday and will run throughout Black History Month in the Rotunda at Houston City Hall Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

FOX 26 is a proud sponsor of this important exhibit.