Houston Matters

Remembering Reverend Jack Yates — from inside his 1870 home

Yates’ great-granddaughter recalls his role in establishing Juneteenth and Emancipation Park.


Heritage Society
The Jack Yates House at the Heritage Society


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The Reverend Jack Yates was one of the most significant leaders in Houston's African-American community in the post-slavery years. He was instrumental in the purchase of Emancipation Park in the Third Ward, used for the annual Juneteenth Celebration.

Heritage Society
The living room at the Jack Yates House

In 1870, Reverend Yates and other men from his family built a house on Andrews Street in the Freedman's Town area of the Fourth Ward, and members of his family lived there until the 1960s.

In 1994, the historic house, donated to the nonprofit Heritage Society, was moved to Sam Houston Park downtown, and restored to its previous glory.

Martha Ann Whiting-Goddard is the great-grand-daughter of Jack Yates; she grew up in the house. In the audio above, she meets Houston Matters producer Troy Schulze at the 1870 Yates House at Sam Houston Park to discuss Yates' life, his role in shaping how Juneteenth is celebrated in Houston – and the house itself.

Troy Schulze

Troy Schulze

Producer, Houston Matters

Troy Schulze is a producer for Houston Matters. He also produces the podcast Party Politics and the digital video series Skyline Sessions. Schulze has been working as a writer and producer in digital media for over 20 years. He has received three Emmy nominations for his work on the TV...

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