Long before Texas Southmost College became occupied with students seeking higher education, it was occupied by soldiers.
“It was part of the construction of a new fort after the American Civil War,” said Tony Knopp, Emeritus History Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
The Post Hospital, which was commemorated with a historical marker on May 10, 2018, was built in 1868 and regarded as “the most beautiful hospital in the entire army.”
Construction included over one million bricks, breezeways were built to accommodate those unaccustomed to South Texas heat.
“They took care of soldiers and their families in those buildings until about 1927-28, this was the only real hospital in Brownsville,” Knopp said.
Unfortunately, not all people and soldiers were welcomed at the hospital.
“Black soldiers were discriminated against certainly here in Brownsville, and apparently not just in the community but within the military community itself,” he said.
A book, studies in the Rio Grande Valley History, edited in part by Knopp, reveals some of the discrimination the black soldiers faced in Brownsville.
Many died of disease, and were buried in a mass grave marked “unknown”.
“Remember that this was an era of generalized discrimination, it didn’t change until the 1950s and 60s,” he said.
The unveiling of the historical markers at TSC was part of a three marker unveiling tour that took place May 10.