A brief history of the Stevenson park neighborhood and Let us Breathe Abilene

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ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Let us Breathe has established themselves as a driving force for equality and representation in Abilene in just a little under a year. And though their headquarters were donated by a local real estate company its location has a higher significance than most.

“Our mission is basically to educate and advocate for the undeserved in our community and as you can tell, a lot of people in this community are undeserved.” Said Let us Breathe co-founder Darla Mayes.

The Stevenson park neighborhood was originally established in 1955 with the construction of the then all black Woodson middle and high school. According to Abilene historian and long time civil rights activist Reverend Andrew L. Penns of the Curtis house cultural center.

“It was a neighborhood that was put together and developed for primarily black home owners..It gave blacks a chance to take pride in ownership of homes” Says Penns.

And though under representation with the city and constant flooding in the area made it difficult for residents to thrive. The Stevenson neighborhood persisted where others like the Good low area dissolved according to Penns.

“I’m glad to see let us breathe that’s going in now to address some of those issues as well. But I think that as we look at what’s taking place today it’s long overdue” Said Penns.

And now in this once predominately black neighborhood, residents of all races are beginning to band together. Raising each other up so that everyone has a seat at the table.

“And that’s why we categorized it as the ‘underserved’ and not a specific group of people” Says Mayes.

The triumphs and struggles of the past, like the wind at their backs, pushing them forward to take on the deeply rooted problems of today.

“I can say today we’ve achieved quite a bit but the fight is still there the battle is still prevalent” Says Penns.

“that’s our vision, that’s what we want to do for this community. We can’t do it for the whole united states but we can at least make a change in Abilene.” Said Mayes.

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