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Sunday, July 31, 2016

1919 African-American Flour Mill in Houston Texas

While reading issues of the Texas Commercial News (Sugar Land's local newspaper) published in 1919, I ran across this item in a June issue.  It mentioned a flour mill owned by African-Americans, which  opened in Independence Heights, Texas.

I had never heard of Independence Heights, much less "Flavo" and the American Milling Company.  I searched for more information, but found very little. Independence Heights was an incorporated community inhabited by minority citizens.  It was located an area north of today's 610 loop and west of I-45. The community chose to dissolve and be incorporated into Houston in the late 1920s. I guess the mill didn't have a long life because there is no record of it that I can find.

I've posted an image of the article, but I've included a transcript below if you don't want to strain your eyes.

Houston's First Flour Mill Began Operation Monday

The only flour mill in the vicinity of Houston, owned and operated by negro citizens of Independence Heights, started production Monday afternoon, following formal opening exercises. The mill is owned by the American Milling Company, of which H. J. Ford is president.
A large crowd of negro citizens gathered for the exercises and were given samples of the "Flavo" flour that the mill will put on the market.  O. L. Hubbard, mayor of Independence Heights, made an address of welcome, expressing the pleasure of the community at having the mill opened in the vicinity.  Its opening is evidence of the industrial progress of the colored race, he said. 
H. J. Ford responded on the part of the milling company, and other Negroes made short talks.
The Flour produced at the mill will be sold direct to the consumer for the present.  It will be of the very highest grade, but will retail at prices usually charged for the medium grade flour in Houston, it was announced.  It will be put up in 12, 24, and 1 pound bags, but also will be sold in four, six, and ten pound packages.  As soon as possible, every negro grocery store will be supplied with the flour.
At the present time the mill has a capacity of 15 barrels of flour a day and 10 barrels of meal.
A number of white citizens visited the mill Monday, including several millers from neighboring towns.