Category Archives: Heritage


The Passionate Concern of Dedicated Individuals




Jacob Fontaine house, now Freedmen’s Bar, Austin, Texas, ©2017 Ted Lee Eubanks

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Rev. Jacob Fontaine (1808 – 1898) lived his first 55 years as a slave. For a time, he and his wife lived on the Woodlawn Plantation, part of which is now Pease Park. With emancipation, the Rev. Fontaine became one of Austin’s most notable residents.

Stir the Blood

Bullock Texas State History Museum by Ted Lee Eubanks
Bullock Texas State History Museum by Ted Lee Eubanks

The man for whom history is bunk is almost invariably as obtuse to the future as he is blind to the past…J. Frank Dobie

Austin began with Shoal Creek sitting on the sidelines. Edwin Waller adopted Shoal Creek as the western edge of the new city, and his to-be namesake as the eastern boundary. Congress Avenue became the centerline.

No longer.  Austin is upside down, inside out. The city sprawls past these edges into the white-rocked and cedar-treed hinterlands. Shoal Creek neighborhoods like Old Enfield and Pemberton Heights, renewed and revitalized, eject thousands of motorists each morning to wend their ways to downtown employment.

The Most Interesting Place on Earth

Codrington Lagoon, Barbuda, by Ted Lee EUbanks
Codrington Lagoon, Barbuda, by Ted Lee EUbanks
The Nature Travel Network has published a four-part article by Fermata’s Ted Lee Eubanks on birding and conservation in Antigua & Barbuda. Ted recently developed an avitourism strategy for the islands, and this article is a result of that work. Please enjoy and share!

The Caribbean Birding Trail

Red-billed Streamertail, the national bird of Jamaica, by Ted Lee Eubanks
The Caribbean Birding Trail is a project of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) and its partner organizations. The Trail is being developed to help residents as well as travelers connect to the rich cultural and natural history of the Caribbean islands through birds. The Trail will aid visitors in enjoying the Caribbean birds, nature, history, and people along the entire expanse from Bermuda to Trinidad and Tobago.

America the Beautiful

Katherine Lee Bates

My youthful reading naturally gravitated to history. In fact, I cannot remember when I didn’t have three of four history books in some stage of completion. Now, armed with a Kindle and an iPad, my consumption has eclipsed what is possible ingesting only words on paper. I am awash in digital history.

My preferences are for world periods that I know little about, and for American conservation history. At the moment I am reading Reston’s Defenders of the Faith. Are you curious about the origins of conflicts between the Christian and Islamic world, between Charles V and Suleyman the Magnificent? Reston is an encyclopedic source. As for American conservation history, I rarely leave the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Roosevelt, Dock, Pinchot, Bird, Rothrock, McFarland, and Lacey inevitably suck me into their vortex.