The Ground on Which I Stand: Tamina, a Freedmen's Town

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TEXAS A & M University Press, Jul 8, 2019 - Photography - 176 pages
In 1871, newly freed slaves established the community of Tamina--then called "Tammany"--north of Houston, Texas, near the rich timberlands of Montgomery County. Located in proximity to the just-completed railroad from Conroe to Houston, the community benefited from the burgeoning local lumber industry and available transportation. The residents built homes, churches, a one-room school, and a general store.

In the decades since, urban growth and change have overtaken Tamina. The sprawling communities of The Woodlands, Shenandoah, Chateau Woods, and Oak Ridge have encroached, introducing both new prospects and troubling complications, as the residents of this rural community enjoy both the benefits and the challenges of urban life. On the one hand, the children of Tamina have the opportunity to attend some of the best public schools in the nation; on the other hand, residents whose education and job skills have not kept pace with modern society are struggling for survival.

Through striking and intimate photography and sensitively gleaned oral histories, author Marti Corn has chronicled the lives, dreams, and spirit of the people of Tamina. The result is a multi-faceted portrait of community, kinship, values, and a shared history. In 2016, the book cover portrait of Tamina resident Johnny Jones was featured at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

This second edition of Corn's classic photographic essays and interviews with Tamina residents includes a helpful classroom guide for collecting and studying oral history. The result is a rich new resource that affords readers a window into a little-understood part of our shared past.

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About the author (2019)

MARTI CORN is a documentary portrait photographer based in Houston. Her art photography has been featured in exhibitions in Minneapolis, Portland, New York, Rome, Houston, and Washington, DC.

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