Smithville, Texas is a rural historically Black town near the Colorado River in Bastrop County. Outside of Austin, the area around Smithville has started to change due to gentrification.
As newcomers move to the area and as community elders pass on, it is important to Archival Seedling Amber Anderson and to the Smithville community to document, preserve, and share their stories of rural life in Texas. The goal of Anderson's Seedlings project is to help current residents and local researchers remember and consider what life has been like for African Americans in Smithville and how it is changing.
Anderson's extended family is from Smithville and she is connected through her family to other town residents. She is building a digital archival collection of interviews with 20-30 Smithville elders as well as images related to their stories. She plans to share her collection through a public Omeka database and a website. She will also make copies of her collected materials available through the Bastrop County Historical Society for the purpose of preservation.
"I wanted to preserve the history of the African American community of San Antonio, Texas. Specifically, I wanted to address race relations in the area. As elders pass away, and their children leave the countryside, it is important to document those stories before they are lost...I think [the interviews] capture some unique aspects of what life was like in rural areas that are not widely discussed."
- Amber Anderson