When segregation dictated how African-Americans were treated in the United States, services offered to them were usually severely lacking compared to those offered to the white communities. This extended into the school system as Jeffie Obrea Allen Conner discovered in McLennan County.
Much like its women, Texas’ weather can be wild and fierce. From its stormy spring nights that produce lightning so powerful it could almost cut the earth in two, to the sometimes torturous summer heat that nearly melts your body the moment you step outside, the weather patterns are as expansive as the state itself. But no matter what the skies are doing that day, most people pay little attention to its daily changes, simply working around or with it when necessary.
In 1931, instead of falling down a rabbit hole into Wonderland as the beloved story goes, Alice stumbled into “Baylorland” and upon her landing wittily declared that “after such a fall as this I shall think of nothing flunking chemistry. How brave they’ll think me at home.” Throughout her journey, Alice encountered quirky scenarios commenting on Baylor University culture and its student body. This clever adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, titled “The Mad March Hare of Alice in Baylorland” was produced by Lily Russell, whose own rather witty personality was mirrored in the theatrical production.
There are many evenings throughout the school year at Baylor University when students, as they stroll along Speight Avenue, might be greeted by the sound of music trailing out of Roxy Grove Hall. It might be the lyrical voice of an undergraduate mezzo-soprano or the compositions of a graduate student. Or maybe on the night you pass, you’ll hear the harmonization of the many instruments played by the School of Music’s faculty as they entertain the Waco community. All of it would have delighted the hall’s namesake, Roxy Grove, whose passion for music rivaled that of the world’s greatest composers.
In Waco, Texas amidst the ongoing noises of city life sits a 416-acre quiet, natural haven bursting with a tremendous variety of flora and fauna called Cameron Park. This park has become a vital part of the community offering residents and visitors alike a place to enjoy a moment of serenity. And if ever you find yourself meandering through the park’s winding trails following the bank of the Brazos River while listening to its steady stream as you caress the silky bark of the tangled bamboo that decorates the heavily wooded hills you can thank, in part, Kate Harrison Friend. There are many people who played significant roles in Waco’s acquisition of the park, but it was Kate’s involvement with the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs and her unrelenting support for city park improvements that led to the donation of the land from the William Cameron family.