Tag: Waco

Waco’s lynching history

June 26, 2006

This area has been going through a period of reflection and reassessment in the past few years about its rather dark racist history — well some folks in these parts are frantically resisting any reflection and reassessment, but they are the usual suspects who are always on the wrong side of history.

This interview with, Patricia Bernstein, the author of one of the two recent books that looked at this issue was interviewed by the Waco Trib and, though much too brief a discussion, it does reveal quite a lot about local attitudes and in/action on the matter.

From Q and A with Patrica Bernstein: Of Waco, lynchings and the need for community healing

[…] it’s pretty amazing it took this long to get the whole story told and somebody didn’t do it sooner. One of the sources I used was a master’s thesis written at Baylor University in the 1970s by a gentleman whose aunt actually witnessed the Jesse Washington lynching. He had been interested in it ever since he heard her story, and his professors tried to discourage him from writing the thesis because they thought it was too negative and too inflammatory and they just didn’t see the point. But I think this is a story that long needed to be told, not just because it is an atrocity but also because of the heroism involved.

We also learn that a screenplay is being written from the book, which I would love to see be produced into a film. It would be a great vehicle for an actress to portray a relatively unknown heroine, suffragist Elisabeth Freeman and bring more attention to her life of activism. Freeman’s anti-lynching organizing with the NAACP is described here.

Happy birthday, CenTex MCC

May 27, 2006

I started getting the Waco Trib this week (well, the weekend editions anyway) and will try to write about more local issues on this blog. There are not too many lefty blogs in the Heart of Texas, so it’s a necessary public service.

Today there’s an article about the local MCC church, a gay/lesbian friendly denomination that, in conservative towns like Waco, are usually the core of the GLBT community.

I’m not Christian, or even religious, but I appreciate what MCC does for gays and lesbians, giving them a place where they can express their spirituality without shame or guilt, and of course it also provides social activities, resources for community service and even on occasion a political nudge. It’s a black eye on the rest of the Christians that this ghettoization was necessary in the first place, but overall it’s been a good thing for gays and lesbians by changing the focus of the community’s attention, to some extent, from the bar scene (and other even less productive venues).

The Waco church is having a celebratory reception for MCC founder Troy Perry — whom I met in Florida a few years back — even as I type this, and a dinner tonight which I will try to get to.

I do have one small criticism of CenTex MCC, though. They should have named themselves HOT (Heart of Texas, as the greater area around Waco is known) MCC, because that would be a lot more fun than CenTex, which sounds like a type of stretchy fabric or a condom brand. Seriously, it sounds very corporate, not religious. I’m betting the boys in the church have a much better, affectionate, nickname for their church. If I go tonight, maybe I will find out what it is!

Chinese Kitchen and Coffee Grinder Espresso Bar & Gelatoria

February 14, 2006

Grabbed a late lunch today at an established chinese buffet, Chinese Kitchen, on Valley Mills, and after doing some shopping (including food and supplies for my new canine companion) had a quick dessert and coffee at a new coffeehouse, the Coffee Grinder, at 824 Hewitt Dr.

Chinese Kitchen has a cozier atmosphere than the Summer Palace, which I have also been to a couple of times now. Both have a good variety of entrees, including non-chinese items. Chinese Kitchen had warm, fresh servings, even in the middle of the afternoon, unlike Summer Palace.

During my first visit to Chinese Kitchen, I liked the fried oysters, but today, they were made special for our party, perhaps in a rush, and I actually didn’t enjoy them due to the oysters being a bit slimy. But their Lo Mein Noodles are really fantastic — I could really just have that each time and be happy. The rice noodles are also excellent. I also had Pepper Beef (?) and while it was a tad spicier than I prefer, it was tasty. The Sesame Ball was an odd thing, and I took one bite and left the rest. Not bad, but not for me (what’s in there anyway?)

I had Vanilla Cake for dessert — not really a cake, more like a firm pudding — which I really recommend. It’s a light, not too sweet confection that is appropriate when you’ve really already eaten too much.

At Coffee Grinder I had to ask what a gelatoria was and the young, friendly staff answered my question without making me feel like an idiot; I appreciate that since I guess I’m the last to know about this particular food treat. It’s Italian ice cream. But they didn’t have any, as the place is new and the freezer isn’t working. Probably better for a warm day, anyway. So, today, I had a slice of key lime pie, which was really perfect, very smooth, not too tart, not too sweet. I got a cup of Moka Java (yes, that’s how they spell it), one of the daily featured blends, but wasn’t impressed with it. Could have been smoother and mokier.

The prices for the coffee drinks here are quite reasonable, so I’ll definitely be back by there, as the Hewitt area is where I do most of my Waco shopping.

By the way, these reports of my food experiences should not be interpreted as anything but personal accounts of where I’ve eaten and how I felt about it. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a food critic, or even especially adventuresome.

1916 murder in Waco sparked anti-lynching campaign

February 13, 2006

In searching for death penalty info in Texas, I found about about the brutal attack on Jesse Washington, a black man, possibly retarded, by whites in Waco — a story most of the locals apparently would rather forget.

But a couple of recent books and newspaper articles feature the story of the lynching, and there seems to be a movement afoot to get the event memorialized, as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation, seems not too much to ask.

Restaurant review: Mama Baris, Hewitt

February 11, 2006

I’m new to Waco, and can barely find my way from one end of town to the other, but I will remember the way to Mama Baris, an Italian restaurant that opened in Hewitt on Jan. 10.

This is my first restaurant review, and it won’t be anything fancy. But I’m working now, and able to go out to eat occasionally, so will be on the prowl for good, but inexpensive, food.

I had the Eggplant Parmigiana the fist time I went to Mama Baris. It was fantastic, with the eggplant cooked just right, and a perfect balance of eggplant, pasta, cheese and sauce.

Last night I had eaten dinner, so after catching a movie, my companion and I stopped by. He had a meal, Fetticini Alfredo with chicken, which he got with a side of sauce. Apparently he really likes sauce; it really had enough to start with. At any rate, he said it was excellent.

I saved myself for a sinful dessert, but couldn’t resist the Garlic Bread with Cheese and Tomatoes. This was good, but some of the tomatoes were quite green and I had to remove them. I was sorry that there was no bread sticks to have with some of the Baris family secret sauce.

I also enjoyed the Tiramisu (sp?), although it did not come up to the dessert I remember from The Garden Restaurant in St. Petersburg. It was basically ice cream.

The staff is very friendly and helpful at Mama Baris, though all I saw were quite young. I did have to get a little over the top to get my coffee cup refilled the first time by an employee talking on a cell phone, but after that, had no complaints.

The bill was under $20 for the two of us. I also like that the place was open until 10 pm (on Friday, at least), making it a good place to go after an early evening movie, without being rushed.

I have no qualms about recommending Mama Baris to anyone who loves Italian.

The Waco Trib Review: Mama Baris brings sizzle of Italy to Central Texas