Scenes And Sorrows: A Portrait Of Weeping Mary : The Picture ShowThe rural Texas town was established as a "freedom colony" with land given to former slaves after the Civil War. O. Rufus Lovett photographed Weeping Mary and its residents for 11 years.
Texas is full of memorable town names — Blanket, Stagecoach, Domino and Paint Rock, to list just a few. Each has at least one tale behind it, and All Things Consideredhost Melissa Block has been telling some of them as part of the series Deep In the Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas.
"So Mary was tricked out of selling her land to another African-American," he says. "She became very distraught over this and wept and wept."
She became known as "Weeping Mary," and the community later adopted the name.
When Lovett first started taking photos in the town, getting anyone to share the origin story was tough.
"[I] had to do a little coaxing after visiting Weeping Mary over a period of time to even get the story from elders in the community," he says. "So this is front-porch lore in Weeping Mary."
And for now, that lore seems to stay with older folks in the town.
"I'm not sure how much that's passed down anymore," he says. "And oftentimes they don't want to discuss that because of the circumstances because it did deal with a racial issue. At the same time, it's part of our history, unfortunately. In a way, it's part of who we are."