In that weird, almost but not quite aimless way of things on the internet, last night I ran across a wonderful web site I’d never heard of before, the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. I was originally sucked in by a Facebook post that linked to a very short, silent and spooky clip of a man walking in Galveston in the aftermath of the Great Storm. But once I was there I was hooked. Within five minutes I found this riveting half-hour long home movie, shot in 1972 as silent, but now accompanied by a 2012 audio interview with Dr. Freeman about his time at Rice. Freeman, the legendary debate coach at TSU, was one of the earliest black teachers here. He himself isn’t sure if he was the first or second and, frankly, neither am I. (It might not even be possible to figure that out.) I am sure that he is an accomplished, interesting and admirable man.
The video itself is a wonder. There’s not much of a plot and it gets a little wobbly in spots but it takes us on a pretty thorough tour of the entire campus as well as the streets immediately adjacent. For whatever reason I wasn’t able to embed it here, but here’s the link. I spent a couple of hours pouring over it and I learned a lot.
I can’t resist noting that at 8:44 we see the same lamp post I was talking about yesterday and it now has proper headgear. (Also, it does seem to have the wrong, rounded bottom that I originally talked about here.) BUT when he gets over to the gym, you can see lamp posts with globe tops like the one in the 1962 picture from yesterday.
Bonus: Here’s a screen shot to induce you to click on the link to the video. It’s too good to miss and the site also has a couple of shorter clips of Dr. Freeman teaching at Rice that are well worth your time if this is the kind of thing you’re interested in .