By Marie-Theresa Hernández
In spring 2021, in the middle of the COVID pandemic, students enrolled in the University of Houston World Culture and Literature photography class planned to document Houston’s East End. Every time they ventured out, taking photographs through open car windows, they found something fascinating and have shared those here.
As one example, architecture student, Golnar Makvandi encountered a Vietnam-era Cessna O-2 airplane, called Oscar Deuce, sitting in the front yard of a home on the northwest side of East End. It could be said the Oscar Deuce represents American capitalism in how it profited from its machines of death. Hundreds of Latinx young men from East End knew about Oscar Deuce because they served in Vietnam during the sixties and seventies when many lost their lives in the fighting.
The Karankawa tribe settled the East End area long before Stephen F. Austin brought his colonists. Many of the events surrounding Texas Independence occurred in Harrisburg, and Houston was founded on Buffalo Bayou, which travels through East End. The bayou began being dredged in the late 1870s, forming the Houston Ship Channel, which opened to deep-water vessels in 1914. A hallmark of East End, Houston now has one of the nation’s busiest ports. But the wealth traveling through the port is strikingly different from the poverty that is often seen in the neighborhood, though things are changing. A new, wealthier population is arriving, remodeling the old houses and building multi-story townhouses. At the moment they live side by side in stark contrast. Even so, long-term residents are concerned things will change too much.
Below are some of the photos that were not included in the article due to space constraints:
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