Without exception, the “cast members” we have interviewed so far for “The Green Chronicles” have each shared personal stories far beyond our expectations. What we thought would be one or two significant moments from each person turned into so many inspiring stories that will be challenging to include in one film!
Over time we will add excerpts and images from many of those stories. Heartfelt thanks to all of our interviewees for their interviews and inspiration.
Starting in 1967, Curtis Graves served for six years as the first African-American Representative in the Texas State Legislature since the 1870’s. Later he went on to a career for thirty years in administration at the National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA). Throughout he has been an avid photographer as well as a musician and his photography gallery can be viewed at http://www.gravesfineartphotos.webs.com.
Left: Curtis Graves’ school picture from New Orleans, 1945-46 / Right: UPI Newspaper photo with caption: “Rep. Curtis Graves of Houston, looks on as his 2-year-old daughter, Gretchen, talks on the telephone at his floor desk in the House of Representatives at Austin. The representatives have phones at their desks to keep in touch with their offices since secretaries aren’t allowed on the House floor.” (photos courtesy of Curtis Graves)
Growing up in New Orleans, Graves’ father and uncle were the first African-American owners of an ESSO gas station franchise in the state and he remembers using the Green Books sold there to plan vacations. Graves writes:
Evergreen’s Big House is the house that my great grandmother must have seen. This renovation was completed in the early 1800’s. The outside was changed from the Creole Cottage that was slave built in the early 1700’s. My great grandmother died in her 40’s in 1875 and my great grandfather died about 1920. My great granddad came from the Whitney Plantation next door. We think it was an arranged marriage because slaves could not go courting. Josephine Honore Haydel was my mother’s mother. This was taken in New Orleans in 1900. She was born in 1881 and was 19 when this picture was taken. She died in New Orleans in 1972. My mother was the only girl of the 4 children of Elphege and Josephine.”
Top left: Victor Haydel, born c. 1830 in Edgar, Louisiana / Top Right: Celeste B Haydel, born c. 1840 same town next door / Lower left: Their daughter-in-law, Josephine Honore Haydel at age 19 in New Orleans, 1900 / Lower right: Mabel, Josephine’s daughter, and Joseph Graves in 1955, Curtis Graves’ parents (photos courtesy of Curtis Graves)
Left: “Echoes of Slavery” / Right: “Evergreen’s Big House”, both from Evergreen Plantation, Louisiana (photos by Curtis Graves, Graves Fine Arts Photos)