The Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum, Inc. (RBHY) was formed 1996 in response to the plea from Olee Yates McCullough, M.A. its Grand Founder.
She was an educator, daughter of Rutherford B. H. Yates, Sr. owner of Yates Printing Co. Mrs. Yates-McCullough was a granddaughter of Rev. Jack Yates, one of the founding families of Freedmen’s Town. She attended Spelman College and received her Master Degree from Columbia University as a Reading Specialist.
Mrs. Yates-McCullough asked us to save her historic family home and other homes from demolition, and to restore them as Museum houses for future generations. She was determined that all children need to know about the heroes of Freedmen’s Town.
The children need to know about the first doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, blacksmiths, and the inventors of the 19th and 20th century. All children need to walk into the homes and churches that the Freedmen built and walk on the streets that they paid for and installed.
Freedmen’s Town 4th Ward was considered the "Mother Ward" for African Americans. Some of the first doctors, lawyers, dentists, teachers, blacksmiths, brick makers, and businessmen and women lived in Freedmen's Town.
Houston's National Register Historic District of Freedmen's Town 4th Ward had the largest cluster of historic homes, historic churches, and brick streets, all built by freed men after Emancipation in 1865.
And so began the RBHY Museums' mission of “Cultural Understanding and Education through Historic Preservation and Archaeological Research into the enslaved and Freedmen’s experiences in the world.”