Ceremony marks reinstallation of historic bricks in Freedmen's Town

Bricks temporarily removed to complete storm drainage improvements

HOUSTON – A ceremony Friday in Freedmen's Town marked the beginning of the reinstallation of historic bricks that were temporarily removed to complete storm drainage improvements in the 4th Ward.

Mayor Sylvester Turner, city leaders and community members took part in the ceremony.

With all of the changes here in and around Midtown, Turner said it is important to preserve history. on Friday, volunteers put back something that they said should never have been touched.

“The city of Houston has fulfilled its promises: The intersection at Genesee Street and Andrews Street is almost complete, and these historic bricks are being reinstalled with improved infrastructure," Turner said. "We recognize the important place these bricks hold in the history of our city, and today the bricks get returned home."

Volunteers including Charonda Johnson picked up, carted away and preserved about 100 whole bricks. 

"This place does matter and our history, talking about more history, African-American history -- it does matter and it's just an enlightening thing to see," Johnson said.

The director of the Department of Public Works and Engineering and Turner said they would continue to work with the leaders of Freedmen's Town to ensure their needs were met as a community in preserving the history of the neighborhood, and to provide strong infrastructure to protect the health, safety and comfort of the neighborhood's residents.

"While we do this work, I think we all have to be very vigilant that we don't undo the history, undo what this area is all about as we move forward," Turner said.

Community leaders laid the first few bricks into the foundation of the intersection at Genesee and Andrews streets, which is expected to be completed in about two weeks.

Johnson said she will keep watching and making sure her neighborhood is made whole again.

Community leaders hope this is just a start. They said they also want to attract more people to the community to visit legendary black attractions in our city.

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