Historical Marker for P. F. Roberts Store Site

Lawyer Henry Porter Field Roberts (1869-1953), the son of former slaves, moved to San Antonio to teach school in 1895.  He left a legacy as an educator, businessman, and civil rights leader.  Among his many contributions, Roberts helped establish the San Antonio branch of the NAACP in 1918, serving as its treasurer and sixth president.  His grocery store, which operated from 1906 to 1922 in the Baptist Settlement area (later demolished for HemisFair), was one of the few Black owned businesses in segregated San Antonio.

As the Express-News observed, “At the center of the story behind the marker at the corner of Indianola Street and Chávez is a friendship between a groundbreaking 31-year-old African American entrepreneur (Roberts) and a 62-year-old white banker and former Confederate officer (T. C. Frost) who crossed social barriers to help him get started.

‘This is not a Black thing. This is an us thing — people who believe in what is right,’ Ernest Qadimasil, grandson of P.F. Roberts, said during a 37-minute address and history lesson at a marker dedication Thursday.” – Read the full story.

The Texas Historical Commission marker is located on the south side of Cesar Chávez at Indianola (to the right of the traffic light in the view below).  The actual grocery store at 301 Victoria was demolished in 1965 and the site paved over to create Durango (now Cesar Chávez) Boulevard  for HemisFair ’68.  According to research by UTSA’s Center for Cultural Sustainability, the footprint of the store is “on the median and a small northern portion of the site is now part of a parking lot for nearby federal buildings.”  When you cross the street here, you’re walking through an important part of local history!





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