Warren Taylor Collection
Mr. Warren Taylor shared items from three distinct locations and time periods: a 1925 Business Guide produced by the Colored Commercial Club of Omaha, homestead documents from early twentieth century Wyoming, and artifacts from his ancestors’ enslavement in mid-nineteenth century Mississippi. A friend gave the Business Guide to Mr. Taylor, but the other two collections are family heirlooms.
The Business Guide provides valuable insight into Jim Crow-era Omaha. The book illustrates that segregation between the black and white communities was able to exist without legal segregation codes. Mr. Taylor commented that a number of those businesses in the guide remained until the riots of 1968, after which a significant number closed their doors.
The Homestead Act documents contain dated certificates of land registration and land deeds, as well as some other documents from Mr. Taylor’s paternal grandfather and granduncle, Russel Taylor and Otis Taylor, respectively. The brothers both homesteaded in Wyoming for a time, but moved back to Nebraska due to the inability to maintain livelihood with the poor soil of the region.
Mr. Taylor’s family heirloom collection contains photographs of both a penny from 1840 and a cup owned by Mr. Taylor’s great-great-grandmother. Warren Taylor’s grandaunt created handwritten notes to accompany both artifacts, and have also been handed down to him. The notes themselves hold a great deal of meaning to his family, as Mr. Taylor’s grandaunt was the daughter of a formerly enslaved person, and learned to read and write in church, later becoming a church orator.