Who Was the Yellow Rose?

The song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” is familiar to many Texans, but the story of Emily West, the woman behind the lyrics, is far less known. Emily West was a free Black woman who arrived in Texas in 1835 to work as an indentured servant at the New Washington Association’s hotel in Morgan’s Point. However, she hadn’t even been in Texas for six months before being taken captive by the Mexican army.

While the stories about Emily West and General Santa Anna are a later, fictional addition to her story, West’s grit and determination to survive the Texas Revolution is full of Texas spirit. Learn more about the real story of Emily West and make your own yellow rose out of tissue paper in her honor.

Suitable for kids aged 5 and up; younger children are welcome but will need to have an adult to help. This activity is free with purchase of an adult ticket to the San Jacinto Museum. On San Jacinto Family Day, kids are admitted for free when accompanied by a parent or grandparent.