Black History in Albuquerque

Members of Albuquerque’s Home Circle club in the 1930s.

Albuquerque’s Home Circle Club

The Home Circle Club started in Albuquerque in 1914. Lula S. Black, who had settled in Albuquerque in 1880, became its founder. The club was originally part of the Colored Women’s Federation Club Network, an organization started for young married women to exchange cultural and literary information. The Home Circle Club later became an independent organization, and for over a century has contributed to scholarships for black students. Anna Williams, who came from Monroe, La., was a charter member of the club. Her daughter Exerlona became a member in 1935, the same year she married Henry Bramlett.

New Mexico’s Buffalo Soldiers

Henry Bramlett was the grandson of John Collins, a buffalo soldier who came to New Mexico in 1879 as part the U.S. 9th Calvary. His troop became one of six all-black regiments formed in 1866 to help protect settlers against Indian attacks in the Southwest. Many of New Mexico’s native African Americans are thought to be descendants of these buffalo soldiers. The troops, who were given their name by the Indians, protected the workers while they built the first transcontinental railroad that stretched from Topeka, Kan., on up through Utah.     

Mt. Olive Baptist Church

The Mt. Olive Baptist church in Albuquerque in the 1930s.

During New Mexico’s territirial period Tabytah Watson arrived in Albuquerque in 1898. She began holding church services in her home. The first baptisms took place right in the in the Rio Grande. Eventually her group formed a church that became Mt. Olive Baptist church on Lead Avenue. Today, the church is located on University Boulevard. The church is a part of a vibrant African American community in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city.

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