West Crossing Park
ABOUT THE PARK
The Parks Advisory Board reviewed and unanimously recommended to the City Council naming the new playground in West Crossing for an early and beloved Anna neighbor named Henry Clay “Yank” Washington at the October 19, 2020 Parks Advisory Board meeting. The City of Anna, Texas City Council adopted a Policy and Procedure for Naming City Parks, Trails, Recreational Areas, and Other Recreation Facilities on November 10, 2020.
Mr. Washington was believed to be the only African American neighbor in Anna from the late 1800s through the mid-1930s. Mr. Washington’s main job was to carry bags of mail from the depot to the post office using a homemade wooden cart with two large iron wheels. Mr. Washington also worked as a janitor at the historic train depot, the Interurban station, the bank, post office, and several stores in town. Mr. Washington was well liked in Anna, and sometime in the late 1920s the neighbors of Anna took up a collection and bought him a railroad watch so that he would always know the time to expect the mail train. Late in Mr. Washington’s life, the neighbors of Anna took up a collection to pay Mr. Washington’s way on the train to St. Louis and back so that he could visit a relative he had not seen since he was 17 and a large crowd was waiting to greet him when he returned to Anna.
The historic context of the time when Mr. Washington resided in Anna was during segregation in the U.S. South before the long-overdue civil rights movement that resulted in the abolition of Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. Despite enduring the harsh restrictions and inherent inequality of so-called “separate but equal” segregation rules, Mr. Washington earned the respect and affection of his neighbors in Anna providing hope for the inclusion that would eventually grow to be a principal value in our community.
For more information, please check out:
A Town Named Anna, by Chester A. Howell, Copyright 1985
The Spark That Ignited the Town of Anna, by the Anna Area Historical Preservation Society, Copyright 2018