Historic Black Towns Alliance – 2: Architecture , Land, & Cultural Landscape

Mound Bayou Ad
1912 advertisement courtesy Tuskegee University Archives

Across the United States the presence of historic architecture is being used too often as the singular measure of the importance of a settlement or town.  Some argue that a limited number, or absence, of styled buildings in a settlement or town indicates that there is not much important value or substance in the civic and cultural life of the community. Some use the current locations of architecture, buildings that follow academic design styles, to define the most important area to preserve in a community.   Without a doubt, architecture is an important source and expression of American culture, but it is not the only authentic asset or legitimate historical reference.

The advertisement for Mound Bayou, Mississippi in the adjacent frame appeared in the 1912 edition of the Negro Yearbook published by Tuskegee Institute in Macon County, Alabama.  It is telling to note the number of land related words, such as real estate, town, and acres, that appear in the copy.  The words town and community are also emphasized.  It is clear that the land and community were Mound Bayou’s most important resources. …MORE