Tyna Steptoe's Houston Bound

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Tyna L. Steptoe’s book, Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City explores the significance of Wheatley High School, a public secondary school located in the heart of Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas, established in the 1930s to serve black and Creole students during the Jim Crow era. Despite being segregated, the students at Wheatley did not let this hold them down and instead made the best of the situation by getting heavily involved in their school. Wheatley High School gave their black and creole students tools for advancement and helped strengthen their cultural identity and in a historic period in which racial discrimination attempted to curtail their political and economic potential. In this Jim Crow era, the institutions of the city were divided by the racial categories of white and black, which would force everyone into one or the other category, even if they did not necessarily associate themselves with it. Accordingly, racially ambiguous people would either receive the benefits that accompanied the white label or the grim treatment that accompanied the black label. This is exemplified in the case of the Creoles of color, who did not perceive themselves as black but were still viewed as black by the rest of the city (unless they were able to pass as white), meaning they could only use the…show more content…
In a time in which mainstream society classified them as secondary citizens, students were encouraged to be prideful of who they were and where they came from. They were unashamed of their blackness or their Creole background and took pride in their Fifth Ward neighborhood. Wheatley High School not only gave the students a valuable education, but its extracurricular activities were instrumental in sharpening the skills they would need to bolster their black autonomy and economic

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