Local Civil Rights Sites Map

Local Civil Rights Sites Map2021-11-20T15:42:42-05:00

Cotton Palace Park
1300 Clay Ave.
Waco TX 76706

Now a public park, this area was once one of Waco’s public swimming pools. During the Civil Rights movement, this pool was the site of a demonstration protesting segregated pools. Arthur Fred Joe and Linda Goolsbee, a white Baylor graduate, led a group of Black children to swim in the pool while the police watched to ensure that they would not be harassed. While their demonstration did not make national news or result in massive sweeping change, it showed the local community that discrimination and segregation would be challenged anywhere it appeared. Since laws supporting segregation were made at the city and state level, small protests and demonstrations like this one were important in contributing to the national movement for equality.

Today just a park, this was the location of a segregated public swimming pool in the early 1960s.

711 Austin Ave.
Waco, TX 76701

During the Civil Rights Movement, a group of protestors conducted a sit in at the Piccadilly at 711 Austin Ave. Before the protest, Arthur Fred Joe, local postal clerk and NAACP Secretary, met with Piccadilly managers and requested that the restaurant be integrated. When he was denied, he organized a group to march around the lunch counter requesting service. During the protest, Joe received a call from the Piccadilly headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and organized a meeting that would result in the integration of all Piccadilly restaurants across the South.

Piccadilly Cafeteria located at 711 Austin Avenue at night with its front lit by a neon sign.  Circa 1950s
Image courtesy of The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
Portions of the Piccadilly Cafeteria are gone now, but a portion of it is the Edison in 2021.

Original Elite Café
608 Austin Ave.
Waco, TX 76701

The Elite Café was a popular restaurant in the heart of downtown Waco. It was here that Arthur Fred Joe, a local postal clerk and NAACP Secretary, conducted his first successful sit-in. Though he was initially refused service, Joe came back the next day with others and were eventually served. After serving Joe and the other demonstrators, the Elite Café agreed to integrate.

Cars line the street in front of the Elite Café on Austin Ave.  Circa 1940s
Image courtesy of The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
Today Sergio’s Mexican Seafood Restaurant occupies a portion of the original Elite Café location.

Roosevelt Hotel
400 Austin Ave.
Waco, TX 76701

During the Civil Rights Movement, the Roosevelt hotel used as a meeting place to discuss the desegregation of the local Piccadilly restaurant on Austin Avenue. After protesting at the Piccadilly, Arthur Fred Joe, local Postal clerk and NAACP secretary, was invited to meet with a representative of the Piccadilly restaurant chain in a room at the Roosevelt hotel. At the meeting Arthur Fred Joe convinced the Piccadilly representative to desegregate not only the local Piccadilly restaurant, but all Piccadilly restaurants across the South.

Roosevelt Hotel in the early 1950s
Roosevelt Hotel today

Pipkin’s Drug Store
700 Elm St
Waco, TX 76704

During the Civil Rights movement, a group of students from Paul Quinn College conducted a sit in at the Pipkin’s Drug store in East Waco. Though it was just a few blocks away from the Paul Quinn campus, the oldest historically Black college in Texas, Pipkin’s refused to serve Blacks at its lunch counter. In protest, a group of students from Paul Quinn, led by Cherry Boggess, successfully conducted a sit. While the students were refused service, their protest did eventually convince the owner to desegregate. Though the business closed just a few years later, but the building remained and was renamed the “Gladstone Knight Building” in honor of the Reverend Gladstone Knight, a Black Antiguan immigrant who worked to improve the lives of the children of East Waco by establishing the local Community Training Center. The building still stands next to Revival Eastside Eatery on the corner of Preston St. and Elm Ave.

A photo of the Pipkin Drug Store on Elm Street shortly before opening. Circa 1950s.
Image courtesy of The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Landers Variety Store
818 Elm Ave
Waco, TX 76704

When Cherry Boggess led a group of students from Paul Quinn to conduct a sit in at the Pipkins Drug store just a few blocks away, she passed in front of Landers Variety Store. As the protester passed by, employees running the store would call Pipkins to warn them, giving them time to pick up stools and prevent the sit-in from happening. Though Landers closed, the building remains and is now home to a black owned business, Marilyn’s Gift Gallery.

Today Marilyn’s Gift Gallery occupies Landers Variety Store’s location.

Paul Quinn Campus
1020 Elm Ave.
Waco TX 76704

Originally founded in Austin Texas in 1872 to educate former slaves and their children in trades like blacksmithing and carpentry, Paul Quinn College moved to Waco in 1877 and is the oldest historically Black college in Texas. During the Civil Rights movement, students from Paul Quinn played an important role in the protests and demonstrations that took place here in Waco. Though Paul Quinn college moved to Dallas in 1990, several of the original campus buildings still stand including William Decker Johnson Hall and the Bishop Joseph Gomez Administration Building.

Students sitting on the steps of William Decker Johnson Hall at Paul Quinn College around 1950.
Image courtesy of The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

1101 Elm Ave.
Waco, TX 76704

During the Civil Rights movement, this convenience store was the site of a months-long protest. In the 1960s, this Shop N Save was one of only two 7-Eleven convenience stores in Waco. Because it was located across the street from Paul Quinn College, most of the store’s business came from Blacks. However, the company would not hire Blacks as clerks to run their stores. In response to this discrimination, the local NAACP branch contacted the 7-Eleven headquarters in Dallas requesting that they employ Blacks, but were refused on multiple occasions. Left with few other options, the NAACP began picketing outside of the 7-Eleven, discouraging people from doing business there until they agreed to hire Blacks. While picketing, protesters were spit on, swore at, and had rotten eggs thrown at them by whites. After several weeks, the 7-Eleven company arranged another meeting with the NAACP and agreed to not only hire Blacks in Waco, but to end their discriminatory employment practices all together.

Arthur Fred Joe, Vivienne Malone-Mays and other protestors picketing in front of the 7-Eleven across from Paul Quinn College in the summer of 1963.
Image courtesy of the Joe Family
Today the 7-Eleven location is still a convenience store, just not a 7-Eleven.

Cameron Park
2601 N University Parks Dr.
Waco, TX 76708

Many public parks before the Civil Rights movement were segregated, so that Blacks were only allowed in specific areas within the parks or were only allowed to visit on certain days. While Waco’s beloved Cameron Park never officially adopted any of these rules, it was well understood that Blacks were not welcome in the park. While Black families were allowed to drive through the park, walking around the park would lead to harassment from the police and other visitors.

Families enjoying playground at Wilson’s Creek in the recently opened Cameron Park.
Image courtesy of the Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Lake Air Lanes
4610 Bosque Blvd.
Waco TX 76710

Though this building is now a church, it used to house one of Waco’s bowling alleys, Lake Air Lanes. Segregation was practiced in nearly all parts of society before the Civil Rights movement, even in places like bowling alleys. However, as integration in other parts of society became more accepted, Lake Air Lanes decided to integrate as well, making it the first integrated bowling alley in Waco.

Lake Air Lanes Bowling Alley, circa 2013.
Today Lake Air Lanes is Grace Church.

Owens-Illinois Glass Plant
5200 Beverly Drive
Waco, TX 76711

In the 1960s the Owens-Illinois Glass Plant employed both Black and White workers, however, not all parts of the factory were integrated. When Harvey Griggs started working at the glass plant in 1965, the staff cafeteria remained segregated, and Blacks could only eat at a few tables in the corner. By 1967, the cafeteria was integrated and the rules regarding where Blacks could sit were lifted. However, Griggs and the other Black workers still sat in the corner since that is what they had always done. About a year after the cafeteria had been integrated, Griggs and some of his coworkers decided to sit in the center of the cafeteria, where they were promptly yelled at by a White worker and told to get back to the corner where they belonged.

The Owens-Illinois Glass Plant where Harvey Griggs worked.  Circa 1950
Image courtesy of the Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Owens Illinois still occupies the same site today.

Black Angus
2612 La Salle Ave
Waco, TX 76706

In 1962, the Black Angus restaurant was one of around 10 Waco restaurants selected for a city-wide demonstration. The mass “dine-in” was organized by Arthur Fred Joe, a local postal clerk and NAACP Secretary, to convince restaurants that integration was not an issue they could ignore. Joe had chosen to dine at the Black Angus restaurant since it was a nicer establishment and would probably be more difficult to convince. However, when Joe arrived at the Black Angus with his mother and three other guests, they were all served. Overall, the mass dine-in was a success and none of the protesters were refused service at any of the restaurants.

A 1946 postcard depicting the Waco Traffic Circle in which the Black Angus Restaurant can be seen in the top left corner.
Today Trujillo’s Restaurant occupies the same site as Black Angus.