Dozens of people packed the Gregg County Historical Museum on Saturday to hear stories of Black Americans from East Texas who had a significant impact on their community, state and nation.
“I showed a friend once the impact of Longview, Gregg County, Harrison County, Rusk County — all of those (East Texas) counties — that sent people into the world that have had a great impact. We have to recognize that,” said Gregg County Historical Museum board member Arthur Brown, who spoke on Saturday about the life of his father, the late Arthur (AZ) Brown, who was one of first black recruits to serve in the United States Navy. Body.
Brown was one of seven speakers at Saturday’s free event, which was offered in conjunction with a Black History Month exhibit called “Journey Stories.” The exhibition is on view until March 26.
Executive Director Lindsay Loy said the historical museum is hosting a free day for each of its exhibits, and she hopes Saturday’s talks will help those in attendance better understand the impact of Black Americans in Longview and the eastern part of the Texas.
“I hope they recognize that we have amazing African Americans here at Longview who have done great things,” she said. “I would also like to encourage more culturally diverse groups to come to our museum. With this exhibit we are trying to reach out to the black community of Longview and help them feel included and recognize that this is their museum too. I hope we can continue like this in the future. »
Saturday speakers included Michael Wilburn, a leading researcher in the study and treatment of sickle cell anemia. Wilburn, who was one of the first black students to enter Longview ISD, holds two patents for a drug used to treat the inherited blood disorder that affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Americans. Wilburn drove from Dallas to speak at the show.
Other speakers, like Pamela Buchanan, still live in Longview. Buchanan, who grew up here, is an author who has written a few books and more are on the way.
Buchanan spoke about his family history on Saturday. Her grandmother worked as a maid for a family that owned an old furniture store in Longview. Her mother was a housekeeper at Holiday Inn for over 30 years and her father worked as a truck driver. None of her family members had a talent for writing, she said, and when she picked up a pen and a notepad, she knew she wanted her name known for something. positive thing.
“Today I can stand here and say that I am a black historian from the town of Longview, Texas on the South Side,” Buchanan said. “With the greatness instilled in me, I will continue to write with a pen and a notebook to tell everyone around the world about a town called Longview, Texas, and a little girl about the projects raised by a single black woman, with ancestry of housekeeping and maids and truck drivers, who continued to use what God gave her I am proud to be here today in front of you to share my life.
Buchanan also encouraged those in the crowd, especially the children in the room, to remember that Longview – including South Longview – contains many talented people who have achieved great things.
“Longview, Texas holds greatness,” she said.