All posts by Lani May

A Time to Ride

This week Runners, I wanted to give you a written glimpse outside your campus.  In today’s era of social distancing, so many more of us are riding our bikes. It’s a TIME TO RIDE!  As a student, in a new and free will world away from home, you might not be familiar with where to ride. Many of you are familiar with the City of San Antonio Linear Park System. The City calls them, Greenway Trails. But do you fully understand how close they are to our campuses? 

DOWNTOWN

At the Downtown campus, the Alazan and Apache trail is located on Lombrano Street and then heads north into Woodlawn Park. A number of coffeehouses, bakeries, and West Side restaurants are located along the way.  This linear park is scheduled to be extended, bringing the path south toward Buena Vista by 2022 and closer to the campus.

Another good downtown ride is along the San Pedro Culture Park.  While the Alazan Linear Park is west of campus, the Culture Park is located north east from E. Houston Street to Camaron Street.  E. Houston is the current terminus of Phase 1 Section 1. Phase I Section 2 from E. Houston to Nueva St. is already nearing end of construction.  Of course, this is the same San Pedro Creek which emanated from the historic and famed San Pedro Springs Park in the Five Points area.  Those of you trend setters will know that Five Points is the home of Sancho’s, Five Points Local, M.K. Davis, The Cove, and many other laid back restaurants and bars for cocktails, weeknight (or weekend) snacks, and local music.

Part of San Pedro Creek is now channelized in underground drainage structures but used to be water access and drainage for the Five Points area. Phase II of the San Pedro Culture Park will bring art, walkability, culture, green space, outdoor events, and a world class example of green infrastructure to the front steps of our new National Security Collaboration Center at our newest campus between Dolorosa and Nueva Street. We look forward to collaborating on the many sustainable opportunities the proximity of the NSCC to the San Pedro Cultural Park will certainly afford the university. 

While riding around downtown, be sure to check out the local history including the Spanish Governor’s Palace from the mid 1700’s, Main and Military Plaza, the San Fernando Cathedral, La Villita, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the River Walk, and my favorite, the Esquire Tavern.

MAIN

As for the Main Campus, be sure to check out the virtues of the Leon Greenway.  There are three trailheads located near Main, Hausman at Huesta Creek Trailhead, Valero Trailhead at the “corner” of IH10 and Loop 1604 behind the Drury Inn, and the closest connector built for the campus at UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way.  This connector is a large ADA Accessible ramp running from the intersection at UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way, south to contiguous to the Hill Country Place Apartments. 

On a bicycle, skateboard or on foot, leave the on campus Tito Bradshaw Bicycle Repair Shop and head south on Ximenes Ave. to UTSA Blvd. At UTSA Blvd. head East on the 10 foot pedestrian path, over the pedestrian bridge, to the intersection of UTSA Blvd. and Valero Way. Using the crosswalk, head south on Valero Way toward the Hill Country Place Apartments. Following the 10 foot path which meanders down adjacent to the apartment community, you are dropped into the Linear Greenway in the creek.

North

If you head north, you will travel approximately 1 ¼ miles to the Valero Trailhead on IH10 and 1604. This ride is scenic with hills and valleys, as well as plenty of sun, and has two wonderful iron pedestrian bridges. Another ½ mile north through typical Texas Oaks and Cedar will get you to the Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Olive Garden on the north corner of IH 10 and 1604. A little more than a mile and a half more and you are at the RIM Shopping Center. Now don’t shop all day because there are no lights on the Greenway so it’s closed after dark.  A quick way to return to campus is west down La Cantera Parkway to the campus. La Cantera turns into Peace Blvd. on campus and is a direct ride back to campus.  Think twice about this return because while it has lights sidewalks, the sidewalks are not wide, the lights aren’t that bright, and it has a few really steep hills. The ride down La Cantera Parkway takes you by La Cantera Mall where you can find more shopping and good happy hours.

South

If you travel south from the intersection at Hill Country Place trailhead, in about a mile you will cross another iron suspended pedestrian bridge and reach Lou Fox Park. It’s a nice ride with much more shade.  It’s a peaceful ride but this way is more for someone in no particular hurry to get anyplace. This route eventually takes you to Wal-Mart after a long but scenic 6 mile ride. Another 5 miles will eventually get you to Ingram Mall. This ride is more about wildlife, trees, sweaty hard hills and several off trail switchbacks that have been heavily ridden and provide moderately challenging mountain biking. This section of the Greenway goes on for another 2-3 miles and will eventually be extended.

There are an un-exhausted number of houses and apartments for students along the Greenway. If you want to bike to school, it’s an option to save some money by living a little further from school.  You can always shower in the Recreation Center on campus. You might not want to get on the Greenway after you’ve been studying in the library until midnight, but you always have the option to Uber or use your free UPass from VIA to get home. On campus, remember that all streets are considered shared path and bicycles are welcome. Check out the UTSA Bicycle Mobility Plan for information.  The speed limit is max 20MPH everywhere on campus. The inner core of campus is a Dismount Zone from 8am to 5pm.  Etiquette dictates that we dismount during campus events on the Paseo and always give Pedestrians the right of way. If you want to take a ride but don’t have a bike, students can check out a bike at the Recreation Center. If your bike needs a little work, bring it by the Tito Bradshaw Bicycle Repair shop where you can check out tools, use the air compressor to pump up your tires, or get inner tubes to get your bike back on the street. The tools and materials at the Bike Shop are always free to students. Campus Services request bicycles are registered on campus and UTSA Police offers free etching service at the Bosque Building to get your ID etched on your property to prevent theft.

Juneteenth in SA a look back.

While looking for historic photos for social media posts, I came across this article in the Express News from 1982. I searched the UTSA Express New Archives for “Juneteenth” and found a number of advertisements for celebrations, stories of the parades and parties and even articles covering the history of the day. It was interesting to note that the first article about Juneteenth celebrations was from 1899. It reported about a parade in Gonzales. Another in 1912 said “The celebration was quite a success, in spite of a steady rain…a series of ball games between Cuero and Floresville…Floresville got two of the games”. A 1919 article proclaimed “Juneteenth celebration is PATRIOTIC” and went on to note the celebration would be a time to “interest Negroes in Uncle Sam’s war saving stamp campaign” (that would be World War 1). Several articles spoke about incarcerated being pardoned to celebrate the day and Texas recognizing the day as a State holiday. Interesting that that would have been recognized for so long and still being considered as a topic of discussion today. I hope you will enjoy this article and give the UTSA Library’s Express News Archives a look if you want to read about UTSA or San Antonio history. You never know what you’ll find.

http://sustainability.utsa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/June-19-2020.pdf


June 19, 2020
UTSA Office of Sustainability Blog ~ Campus Interests


For today’s blog, I thought I would find something about Juneteenth. Honestly, I think I’ve always
known Juneteenth was a “holiday” and while I thought it had to do with Black History, I certainly never
bothered to understand what or why. I guess if it didn’t happen to me, and I didn’t get a day off from
school I didn’t bother; and therein is the issue. In the world today, ongoing protests, discussions, panels,
and fighting for the rights of underrepresented people, I wanted to look back at what San Antonio
archives had about Juneteenth. I was hoping to educate myself and look for pictures or stories to
connect Runners to the date and events of the past. The following is an article from The Sunday Express
News, Published January 10, 1982 page 117, by Lorece Williams and Walt Smith: “Memories of West End
full of cultural heritage”. It’s about San Antonio history and a little relevant to Juneteenth and perhaps a
look back to open a look forward, for myself and maybe you. I hope you enjoy the article. A copy was
rewritten for legibility.

Memories of West End: Full of Cultural Heritage

An old neighborhood has character. Each street is different. Even if the houses were similar
years ago, today the front yards and porches are a testimony to decades of creativity. Trees and
rose bushes someone started years ago grew up with children from the families who tended them. Flower beds and potted plants. Herbs and vegetables. Chairs, swings from tree limbs and curtained windows.

Behind those windows is the source of an old neighborhood’s character. The people in their
family homes. Children, parents. Especially the elders. Those who have lived in the
neighborhood and been a part of changes taking place as each generation came and went.

With anticipation for a trek back through time, we waited for the locks to open. The cool fall air
at our back was greeted by toasty warm air from within. And we were warmly greeted by a
beautiful woman who has lived in San Antonio and the “West End” for over four decades. This
afternoon we were guests to hear about the real history of San Antonio – about the lives of
unheralded folk who contributed to San Antonio’s rich cultural heritage.

While we enjoyed a feast of tasty sausage and homemade sweet pickles prepared by our
hostess, memories of yesteryear were the honored guests of the afternoon. Antique
furnishings, handmade quilts and cushions, kerosene lamps, countless memorabilia and family
pictures, the fireplace and family kitchen. Treasures from the past bringing cultural heritage
into the present. To come were stories of Juneteenths, quilting parties, wagon trips to church,
Christmas pageants, birthdays, weddings, funerals, brand new Model A Fords, visiting with
relatives and playing with friends.

Our hostess first took us back to the days when her grandmother was a slave, and then to
Goliad where the first of her 11 brothers and sisters was born. At the turn of the century, her
family moved to San Antonio. The West End was rural then. “Ours was one of the first houses.

All around us were trees, bushes, and fields. Papa used to kill a lot of rattlesnakes. We grew a
lot of our good in our gardens. The dirt roads in the area were called Garza, Castro and
Lakeview. Today they are Poplar, Laurel and Martin.

“My mama used to read to us when we were very young. Before I went to school I could read
my name and spell words like ‘cat.’ Our teachers saw to it that we worked hard to become
ladies and gentlemen. Black children walked to the old Riverside School – way across town from
the West End near, at that time, the Ursuline Academy.”

Riverside School grew from an elementary school to a 12-grade school. Then it became Douglas
High School, and later was moved to the East Side of San Antonio where it first became a high
school and later a well-known junior high school. “The building stands there today,” she says,
its rooms echoing the sounds of students struggling to learn during hard times when Black
education was scarcely recognized in Texas.

“I went to Riverside School for 12 years. Ours was the last class to graduate. Then I went off to
Prairie View for my teacher’s certification and came back to find the school gone. I just stood on
the corner and cried. Something inside me loved that piece of ground.

“WHEN WE WERE kids, everyone anticipated Juneteenth. Three fun-filled days of celebrating
‘Our Day’. There was a parade starting on the East Side beyond the S.P. Depot, down by where
Joske’s is today. I remember Papa was the grand marshall. Our wagons and horses were
decorated to make a grand show on the way to San Pedro Park. We could get the park back
then for our celebrations.

“Everybody had something to eat. There were food stands for fish and chitins and other
goodies. This was an occasion of splendor – the time for a very special new dress. Mama could
make the finest dresses. Girls and boys, young and old folks strolled the grounds, showing off
their new attire and enjoying the company of people who were seen once a year, Juneteenth,
unless, of course, some more permanent arrangement were established at the celebration.

“Once I went to Del Rio around Juneteenth. I’d heard some about the Seminoles there, the half
Negro and Seminole Indians. They had a grand picnic, but I couldn’t understand them
sometimes. Someone invited me to their ‘We Day’. I had no idea what they meant until they
explained that it was their Juneteenth. ‘We Day’, that’s what they called ‘Our Day’.

“San Antonio has changed. The evolution of prejudice has sometimes been for the better and
sometimes for the worse. Like the springs at San Pedro Park. As a child on Juneteenth, we
could wade in the cool springs. I was amazed to watch the water bubbling up constantly. Then
they built the swimming pool and Blacks had better not go near that pool! But now we can go
to the pool. Like I said, there’s been some evolution.

“Our church was always there as part of our life. St. Paul Methodist Church, the old one that
used to be at St. Paul’s Square. I was going there even before I was born! There was a Baptist
Church closer to our home in the West End where Mama thought she would be welcome. But
she couldn’t understand why they’d let her pray there but not take communion.

“So Papa would hitch up the wagon every Sunday and on Wednesday nights for testimonials.
He was a coachman for some of the prominent families in town. Every Wednesday night, over
and over again, the old folk were testifying, partying, singing and praising GOD ‘from whom all
blessing flow.” Mama’s favorite songs were ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘How Sweet the Sound’. In our
growing up we gave out the Negro spirituals like, ‘Father, I stretch my hands to Thee, for no
other help I know.’ We shouted out in praise and thanksgiving to a ‘never changing, infinitely
merciful loving God’ for bringing us safe this far.

“EVERYBODY HAD to work back then. The smallest kids could iron the handkerchiefs after
Mama washed large bundles of clothing and bedding. When we were at Riverside School, we
used to slide down the river bank at the end of St. Mary’s Street before they built the bridge
across. Then we’d be punished for getting our clothing dirty. Oh, Mama didn’t like that!

“Mama had quilting parties with our neighbors and friends. She’d make fresh lemonade and
cookies and the grownups would have a grand time visiting. We kids had better be quiet if we
wanted some cookies. We sure weren’t like some kids are today who pay no mind to their
parents and teachers.”

Our hostess took us to her old cedar chest to show us some of the fine quilts made during
quilting parties over the past four decades in the West End. Each one had memories for her – a
design her mother showed her how to make, a piece of cloth from a favorite childhood dress,
or a piece of linen from a tablecloth that the family used years ago….

“I WAS TELLING you about the evolution of prejudice in San Antonio. You don’t remember the
streetcars. As a child, I know nothing about ‘sitting in the back of the bus.’ Someone
complained about using Negro, so they changed it to colored. But the thing was so disgusting.
Papa had a lot of pride and he wasn’t going to have us on that segregated streetcar.

“I wanted to take that sign off so many times. But Papa had dared us as kids to get on: ‘No!
You’re not riding that streetcar to school. You walk.’ And we went on to school every day, in the
extreme cold and the blistering heat. On balmy days, those five miles to school seemed like a
hop, skip and a jump. It took nearly an hour. Not so now. With modern transportation, we can
get to town in 10 minutes.”

We listened and laughed and cried for much of the afternoon as our hostess recalled more
memories of growing up and teaching for three generations in the West End. The courage and
resourcefulness of her parents and neighbors of humble beginnings. “We were poor as Job’s
turkey.” They nurtured and guided their children who, even in the at era, received degrees from
Samuel Houston, Prairie view, Columbia, Fisk, Morehouse, Wilberforce or Atlanta University to
become physicians, homemakers, social workers, lawyers, ministers and teachers.

Memories of the West End as it changed from “country” into city, as prominent people tried to
buy land and homes of early Black settlers, and then moved out of the West End “because the
owners refused to sell. Our old neighborhood has changed with so many homes and businesses
housing projects and new school. Many races live together here now.”

“This is just a short history of the West End.” Our hostess reminded us. “This is the history of
our people in a small part of San Antonio. You young people, don’t you ever forget your
history.”

Lorece Williams is (was?) a professor at the Worden School of Social Serivces at Our Lady of the
lake University. Walt Smith is (was?) Director of One City Many Cultures.

RoadRunner Pantry Update: Still Open!!

Roadrunner Pantry on Main Campus will be open weekdays from noon to 4 p.m., effective March 31. Anyone with a UTSA ID will be given “grab and go” food bags. Visitors are asked to enter the Student Union through the northern entrance closest to the circle driveway near the tennis courts. Note that aside from Roadrunner Pantry and The UPS Store, all other Student Union operations and buildings are closed.

The Whataburger Resource Room, located in the Durango Building on the Downtown Campus, is currently closed.

If you have any further questions, please see the following website: https://www.utsa.edu/studentunion/roadrunnerpantry/

Researchers Return to Campus

UTSA announced today that it will reopen its campuses to researchers and graduate students beginning Monday, June 1, so that they can resume research and doctoral training opportunities that cannot be completed remotely.

The researchers’ return to campus is the first step in a carefully planned strategy guided by UTSA’s Public Health Task Force and its Research Excellence and Doctoral Education Recovery tactical team, appointed earlier this month by President Taylor Eighmy.

Researchers and graduate students will be given the option of returning to campus this summer or fully continuing their work remotely. Those who return will still be encouraged by the university to continue with remote work as much as possible.

Click here to read the full article.