African American Museum Set to Open

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

After years of planning and hard work, the new African American Museum is just about ready for its big debut. The grand opening and dedication ceremony is Saturday.

When Mel and Willie Pruitt moved to Bryan 54 years ago, little did they know they'd be responsible for making history.

In those times blacks were not allowed at the public library, so Mrs. Pruitt began collecting and preserving African American literature and artifacts in her home. In 1999 she ran out of room.

" So I decided to call a group of friends together and see what we could do," said Mrs. Pruitt.

Those friends and others got right to work. They set their sights high, and aimed to build a new museum. Seven years later that dream is a reality.

" The museum is not just a one person thing. It's really a community thing and it was set up to provide motivation really. Motivation for all children," said Mrs. Pruitt.

The Pruitts and their coalition raised enough money to build the museum and open it debt free. One of the largest contributors was the city of Bryan with a $100,000 dollar donation.

" I think it's very pertinent because not only is it African American history and it's time that the entire story be told," said the museum's director Shannon Henderson.

Mrs. Pruitt is pleased that African Americans in the Brazos Valley now have a place to share their stories.

" We're extremely excited. There's been a lot of years, a lot of hard work that has gone into this and the last three months especially and we're just looking forward to Saturday," said Henderson.


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