Gregory Library Watch

Preserving working class Black history

Racial Violence

Updated October 5, 2010.

Since at least the 1970s, Freedman’s Town has experienced unsolved arson fires. Here’s some background reading so you can understand the historic context. It is an article that ran as a cover story in the Texas Observer in 1991, read it here: Texas Observer 4th Ward Fires.

It is important to keep in mind who benefits from the destruction of old houses and churches in the inner city Freedman’s Town Fourth Ward neighborhood. It is the property developers who then buy the land and either develop it immediately or sit on it and wait to flip it for a fat profit.

Corporate media articles about fires:

Fire sparks grumbles from area residents HouChron 10.22.2002

Activists stop Bethel Baptist demolition HouChron 1.25.2005

Flames destroy 4th Ward church HouChron 11.7.2006 About unsolved Friendship Baptist fire.

Piece of 4th Ward history demolished HouChron 5.16.2008 Concerns the City’s premature demolition of  Mt. Carmel MBC.

Pastor- Church fire was arson HouChron 6.7.2009 Concerns Bibleway Baptist fire.

Bethel Baptist after Freedman's Town activists stopped the city from destroying it.

Fires: videos and pictures:

Here is a video and a few pictures of some more recent fires:

Friendship Baptist church fire video It burned down on November 6-7, 2006.

Site of Bethel Baptist to become Park.   http://www.khou.com/v/?i=66138072

Before Bibleway Baptist’s auxiliary building got torched by an arsonist it looked like this:

Bibleway Baptist Auxiliary church was on the corner of Andrews and Mathew Streets.

This video shows the auxiliary Bibleway Baptist Church Fire that happened June 6, 2009.

1518 Andrews Street burned in 2009.

Aftermath of fire at historic "shotgun" style house on the 1400 block of Wilson Street. Picture taken January 4, 2008.

Lenwood Johnson shown in the aftermath of Friendship MBC church fire November 7, 2006 Mathews Street.

Site of Friendship Baptist October 4, 2010

House on right is 1603 West Dallas shortly after fire. It's conveniently located to the site of new Perry Townhomes, which is out of view to the right. Portacan is for construction of those now complete homes.

City Inspector Bacum tagged 1603 West Dallas and when accused of doing developers dirty work hid and then called the cops. This picture was taken March 3, 2006

1408 Andrews St. fire March 13, 2006

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