Dr Anne Elizabeth Davis Roark
The marker is located across the street from the C. B. Fuller Center, 500 Flood Street, Wichita Falls TX 76301.
GPS coordinates: 33-degrees, 54' 55.25" N 98-degrees 28' 50.28" W
Following the local oil boom in 1918, the African American population in Wichita Falls increased as did the need for businesses and services. Dr. Anne Elizabeth Davis Roark was born in rural Texas in 1894 and educated at Paul Quinn College in Waco. She furthered her education by attending schools in chiropody (podiatry) and massage in Chicago.
Dr. Roark opened a practice in Mineral Wells, but shortly moved to Wichita Falls with her husband, Daniel Henry Roark. Dr. Roark practiced podiatry in Wichita Falls for nearly 60 years, opening her first office in 1923. Dr. Roark's office from the 1920s to 1940s was located in the downtown area, serving white patrons, an unusual occurrence in the segregated community in Wichita Falls.
Meanwhile, Dr. Roark and her husband were active in their East Side community. During the 1940s, they operated the Roark Plaza Hotel and Coffee Shop, a site that served as a poll tax location and a waitress in training site for African Americans. The Roarks were active in their church, Anderson Chapel A.M.E., and contributed to the local NCAAP and Church Women United.
After Daniel's death, Dr. Roark continued their plans to open an African American theater, the Isis, on the east side of town. The Theater brought well-known African American artists and movies for the community. The Theater was also used as the Negro Service Men's Center as there were no facilities at Sheppard Air Force Base for African American soldiers.
In the face of adversity, Dr. Roark persevered to achieve her goals and to better the cultural environment of her community. Dr. Anne Roark passed in 1984 and is buried beside her husband in Lake View Cemetery. (2016)