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Fort Worth Flashback: Miz Rolla’ secured a place for local black history

Posted Feb. 17, 2013

In honor of Black History Month, each week in February Fort Worth Flashback will take a look at the role of African-American residents in our city’s history.

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In 1974, Lenora Rolla, a black journalist and political activist, was a docent at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and was serving on various bicentennial committees. As the bicentennial year approached, Rolla stressed that the history of Tarrant County’s black residents should be recognized during the celebrations.

As she delved into the history of the black community of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, she found that none of Tarrant County’s universities or libraries held any significant material relating to black history, although important archival material existed in private collections.

Rolla — known in the community as “Miz Rolla” — and a few of her friends organized the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society, which began to collect personal papers, scrapbooks, clippings, photographic collections, artwork and other relevant material.

The original home of the society was a small frame house on Rosedale Avenue. The society eventually acquired the Boone House, a large two-story structure on Humbolt Street. Unfortunately, while there was adequate space, the house had many structural problems, and the collection was endangered.

A new, secure home was found in 1997 when the collection of the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society was placed on permanent loan in the Fort Worth Public Library’s Genealogy, History and Archives unit.

This photo, from the archives, shows Rolla meeting President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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Calendar

Breakfast at the BAC featuring Dr. Stacia Alexander: 7:30 a.m. Sept. 19, 2019; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway.
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Tarrant County Adult Education & Literacy Consortium Meeting: 9:30 a.m. Sept. 19, 2019; Workforce Development Board Offices, Large Conference Room, 1320 South University Drive, Suite 600.
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Urban Design Commission Public Hearing: 10 a.m. Sept. 19, 2019; City Council Work Room, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Urban Design Commission Work Session: 10 a.m. Sept. 19, 2019; City Council Work Room, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Community Action Partners (CAP) Council: 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; Fort Worth City Credit Union, First Floor Board Room, 2309 Montgomery Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107.
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Fort Worth Housing Solutions Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting: 5 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; FWHS Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Fort Worth Housing Solutions FW Alliance Public Facility Corporation Meeting: 5 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; FWSH Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Northwest Community Center Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; Saginaw High School, 800 North Blue Mound Road.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions Board of Commissioners Public Hearing: 6 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; FWHS Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Fort Worth Housing Solutions Public Hearing: 6 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; Fort Worth Housing Solutions Administrative Office, 1201 East 13th Street.
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Eastside & Southside Infrastructure Improvements Project Meeting: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; Sycamore Community Center, 2525 East Rosedale St.

WORKSHOP: Lead-Safe Program (Presented in Spanish): 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19, 2019; Northside Community Center, 1100 NW 18 St.

Barbershop Talk : 11 a.m. Sept. 20, 2019; Millennium Cuts, 8000 Wichita St No. 112.

Minority and Women Business Enterprise Advisory Committee Meeting: 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20, 2019; James E. Guinn Building, 1st Floor, PharmaFab Conference Room #116, 1150 South Freeway.
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Tax Planning for Small Business: 9 a.m. Sept. 21, 2019; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway.
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Presentations and Pitches Bootcamp: 9 a.m. Sept. 21, 2019; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway.
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Fort Worth Crud Cruiser Event: 9 a.m. Sept. 21, 2019; MET Church, 11301 Old Denton Road, Fort Worth 76244.

WORKSHOP:Lead-Safe Program (Presented in English): 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21, 2019; Northside Community Center, 1100 NW 18th St.

Mental Health Awareness Fair at Como Community Center: 10 a.m. Sept. 21, 2019; Como Community Center, 4900 Horne St.

Compost 101: 1 p.m. Sept. 21, 2019; Botanic Garden, 3408 West Freeway.
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Buttermilk Junction Old Time String Band: 1 p.m. Sept. 21, 2019; Log Cabin Village, 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane.

Field Trip to the Star in Frisco - Worth Heights Community Center: 2 p.m. Sept. 21, 2019; Worth Heights Community Center, 3551 New York Ave.

Building Standards Commission Pre-Meeting: 9 a.m. Sept. 23, 2019; City Council Confernce Room 290, 2nd Floor City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Building Standards Commission Meeting: 9:30 a.m. Sept. 23, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Fall Hats for Seniors at Como Community Center: 10 a.m. Sept. 23, 2019; Como Community Center, 4900 Horne St.

Trinity Metro Board of Directors Meeting: 3:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 2019; Fort Worth Central Station, Downtown Fort Worth, 2nd Floor Community Room, 1001 Jones Street.
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National Voter Registration Day: Sept. 24, 2019; Fort Worth Public Libraries.

Employee Life-Cycle - Interviewing, Hiring and What Comes Next: 11:30 a.m. Sept. 24, 2019; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway.
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Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee: 2 p.m. Sept. 24, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. Sept. 24, 2019; City Council Conference Room 290, Second Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

View the full city calendar and current meetings.