Educating myself about Black history in New Mexico
Cemeteries are one of my favorite places to photograph. So upon my return to New Mexico and traveling back roads I’ve come to discover some small lessor known plots. Recently my sister and I discovered the Vado Riverview Cemetery near Vado, NM. It so happens that Francis Marion Boyer, who was fleeing the Ku Klux Klan, founded the state of New Mexico’s first community of African Americans, known as Blackdom, NM. Both he and his wife Ella, were highly educated and made education a top priority in their communities. At its peak (1908) Blackdom had a ‘black’ population of 300 with local businesses, a newspaper and a church. But by 1921, many had moved on due to drought and the Great Depression. Some helped the Boyers establish Vado, New Mexico making it a mixed race community in Dona Ana County.
In case you are interested you can learn more here:
“Diamond girl, You sure do shine, Glad I found you…”
It was a dewy morning and great day for lifting off in a hot air balloon. Pilot Bud had a great crew behind him as the basket was unloaded and the envelop filled with helium. My cousin was invited to fly and the chase was on.
Diamond Girl floated gently across the sky for about an hour as I followed in my chase car. Before long Bud had put her down in an arroyo a tad off the beaten path. “You can’t get there from here” immediately came to mind. But before we knew it our lead chase car was being followed by the sheriff’s department! A local resident had called 911 thinking that a hot air ballon was in distress setting off a search by local sheriff plus fire and ambulance! Not true! The pilot and lead chase car were in constant contact so we knew there was no problem other than finding the right dirt road to reach them.
We finally arrived at the arroyo only to find three sheriffs curious about the situation. After educating them that a balloon does not have a steering wheel and that it lands wherever the winds blows, Diamond Girl was moved to a safe area where she was deflated and loaded into the trailer. I helped transport everyone back to our starting point where Pilot Bud came up with a unique distress code for the future – “We’re heading for Seattle!”
from snowy?! southern New Mexico! The great southwest was not immune to the cold front that is blowing across the states. We went from 65 degrees to 24 degrees with a wind chill of 13! In my quest to capture these images in historic Old Mesilla my car ended up coated in a sheet of ice….pretty! Normally on a Sunday you’d find lots of people attending mass and shopping the plaza. Not so much today!
Thank you for participating in Gail Ann’s Holiday Pop-Up at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. While Santa may not have been there in person his ‘spirit’ and the spirit of giving certainly was! Together we raised $250 for FSCA to distribute to the needy in our community. And, you donated over 100 pounds of food, baby supplies, and pet food! Thank you for helping to make it a brighter holiday for others.
Two options: #1: Receive hi-res digital files to use as you wish – this will allow you to create your own holiday cards or prints for holiday gift giving! Cost is $40 AND 25% goes back to the community via FCSA.
#2: Social media files (Not suitable for printing) Complimentary with your food/pet/baby formula or diaper donation.
the fine print: By appointment only for your covid-pod. (Please arrive wearing your masks) Props are limited so feel free to bring your own toys, teddy bear, presents, wagon, trike, etc.! Area will be sanitized between sessions. Digital downloads.
I’m on the hunt for yard art and stopped in at Casa Bonita. I just had to capture the interesting “lines” of sculptures as I roamed the grounds. Next stop was the San Albino Cemetery just a few blocks off the square in Old Mesilla. Like most southwest cemeteries simple wooden and adobe crosses dot the landscape not to mention a few brightly painted headstones.
On Sunday a friend and I headed toward El Paso. From the Murchison Park overview off of Rim Drive you can get a view of sprawling El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. You can see a giant “X” that sits at Plaza a la Mexicanidad. Created by sculptor Sebastian, it represents Mexico’s indigenous people and the cultures of Spanish colonists. Some say it represents the letter X of Mexico as Benito Juarez changed the name from Mejico to Mexico.
We drove ‘Paseo de las Luces’ where the infamous Billy the Kid and Pancho Villa once walked. Now a major source of shopping for those crossing over from Mexico.
A hidden gem in El Paso is the Keystone Heritage Park and Botanical Gardens. Considered an archeologic site it was discovered in the 1970s by the Corps of Engineers while working flood control. They found an ancient pitch house dating back 4000+ years and may be one of the largest and oldest villages in the US even if most of it is unearthed. The gardens feature walking paths, sculptures, an amphitheater and of course desert flora.
As I left Las Cruces, NM I noticed there was quite the line at a local Starbucks but I must say it wasn’t as long as the line at Sparky’s in Hatch, NM about 30 miles down the road! Even tho it was hot and dusty with social distancing and masks enforced the adventure was fun. The green chile cheeseburger was the best around and well worth the drive. I am always delighted with their growing collection of memorabilia – several of which I bet came from Las Cruces hangouts like the old Big Boy and Dutch’s Market. Thank you for the great food and your collector’s eye. I will return!
Took a little drive thru Snohomish, Washington today. The beautiful weather had people strolling the village streets and filling up the bars and restaurants. Upscale clothing stores, antique and home decor shops were bustling with activity. My favorite of course, is always the funky antique shop further down the road and the winding backroads dotted with old barns and small aircraft flying overhead.
I love the Clark family. Dianna was one of my first clients and we’ve been doing family sessions for the past 15-16 years! Imagine my surprise when she called to say it was time for Max’s senior pics – time does fly. So off we went to capture images on the beach. Max is a senior at Chief Sealth International H.S. He enjoys Biology and aspires working towards a profession in that subject. Max also enjoys playing baseball at the High school level as well as playing for West Seattle baseball club over the years. Wishing much success to this talented senior!
When I saw a rather strange formation from the road I found my way into the Russian Orthodox Brotherly Cemetery of Saint Nicholas; just inside Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery. (Washelli is a Makah word meaning west wind)
Further down, the serene road led to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery where Chimes Tower looks over rows and rows of military headstones. We happened upon one woman WWII Army vet 1915-2007.
We also drove through other sections for religious communities and ethnic groups such as Greek Orthodox and Lutheran.
The cemetery was founded in 1884 by David Denny and his wife Louisa who are all buried here. Originally called Oak Lake Cemetery many mergers led to its current status as Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery.
Angels are all around us, all the time, in the very air we breathe. ~ Eileen Elias Freeman