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A Bit of Local History Gone: E.A. Kemp

I will be upfront at the beginning of this post and tell you that it is not about a historical marker on some wonderful back-road of Texas. This post is instead dedicated to some local history, namely E.A. Kemp who was the 3rd Principal for the "Bryan School for Coloreds" and an "aggressive advocate" for the black community of Bryan in the early 20th century (Wayne Sadberry, Director of the Brazos Valley African American History Museum). These pictures here are of his house, as it stood, in early June 2019, before it was demolished. Even though it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, the home was suffering from extended periods of deferred maintenance (through no fault of the owner) and needed a great deal of restoration. So, unfortunately, the City of Bryan stated it was a health and safety hazard.

The house itself was built around the turn of the century in a Bungalow/Craftsman style, according to the National Register of Historic Places. There was a big effort to save it for several years in the 2010s, but sadly the funds could not be raised and it was demolished June 2019. Now, it is just a vacant lot.

This is a really great example of why it is so important that towns have historic preservation laws. It is not enough to put a building on the National Register of Historic Places because that is meaningless unless the town has historic preservation laws and codes in place to protect buildings that are on the register. It's also necessary for the preservation of historic structures that a community has the funds for maintenance and upkeep. Being on the register in and of itself does not confer protection. It is sad to see this bit of local African-American history lost, but, as Wayne Sadberry says, "We will never forget Mr. Kemp". And maybe, in some small way, re-posting this little bit of history helps to remember those, like E.A. Kemp, who worked to improve life in the city of Bryan, Texas.

For more information please see:

For a link about the demolition, here is a short piece by the local news station:

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