Scholar and folklorist John Mason Brewer was born in Goliad in 1896. Over his fifty-year career, Brewer almost single-handedly preserved the African American folklore of his home state. When Brewer graduated from Wiley College in 1917, he worked as a teacher and wrote poetry, but he also collected the folk tales he heard at schools and churches, in general stores and barbershops—the places of everyday life for Black Texans. Brewer became the first African American member of the Texas Folklore Society and the Texas Institute of Letters. His books serve as a timeless record of Texas storytelling and powerful proof of what he called "folklore as a living force." More»

J. Mason Brewer. Photograph by Walter Barnes Studio. Courtesy The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University.