Rev. Seymour Perkins' home gets temporary reprieve

In what appears to be an on-going battle for property near the Alamodome, which some neighbors called “a haven for crime,” it looks like folk artist Rev. Seymour Perkins, 78,  has a few more weeks to prepare an appeal before the bulldozers raze his home.  

According to the local television station WOAI:

The house is on Hackberry. Neighbors call it a “haven for crime.” But Seymor Perkins, 78, say it’s his art school, his home, and he’s fighting to save it.  The city was supposed to tear the house down last week. Neighbors said they are frustrated it’s still standing.

“The idea was finally something’s being done to clean up the neighborhood,” said Reverend Otis Mitchell of the Mt. Zion Church.  Neighbors supported the city’s plan to get rid of the folk artist’s house, where police say prostitutes and drug addicts gather. “Tearing it down is the only way to solve the criminal activities that go on in the house,” explained Alvin Jarmon, neighbor.

A judge has now extended a temporary restraining order that gives Perkins more time to fix things up at his home.

“The only thing I was doing out in the street is ministering to people that don’t nobody else want to minister to,” said Reverend Perkins.  Perkins is a nationally recognized artist who admits to allowing criminals to stay at his house.

His lawyer believes there’s something more behind the city’s demolition plans.  “It just seems a little cruel to tear down an old man’s house,” said Perkins’ Lawyer, Eddie Bravenec.

But neighbors fear as long as Perkins’ house stands, it will invite more problems.  “Our plan is to make the house as safe as possible, as drug-free as possible, and as prostitution free as possible,” said Bravenec.

Perkins and the city are due back in court in two weeks. In the meantime, Perkins says he’ll continue to fix up his house.

Reverend Seymour Perkins

1930-     San Antonio, TX     Paintings  and carvings

Neighborhood preacher and self-taught artist Seymour Perkins creates art to spread the Lord’s word and tell the stories of African-American historical figures and the Underground Railroad. He also details the day-to-day struggles of his community, including the death of his daughter. He paints on almost any surface he can find: old window shades, paper, canvas, and discarded wood. Seymour also creates ornately carved walking sticks. 

Having been there a few years ago, it indeed is a tough neighborhood, but to blame all of the woes of the area on Rev. Perkins seems extreme.  His art is personal, raw and provocative, as is the area, I hope a compromise is reached for all.