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Texas A&M unveils statue honoring former State Senator Matthew Gaines

Gaines was one of Texas’ first African-American state senators and was instrumental in passing the Land-Grant College Act of 1862
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 7:47 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - 121 years after his death, and following decades of fundraising and planning, a statue honoring Matthew Gaines took its place on the campus of Texas A&M University Friday.

A dedication ceremony was held outside Rudder Plaza, where several university officials, students, and descendants of the late Texas state senator spoke of his legacy and the impact that he made. The life-sized bronze statue sits near the Memorial Student Center and Rudder Plaza for all to see.

Matthew Washington Gaines was born on August 4, 1840, in Pineville, Louisiana. He later relocated to Washington County. Gaines was one of Texas’ first African-American state senators and was instrumental in passing the Morrill Act, legislation that paved the way for the creation of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now known as Texas A&M. Gaines was a member of the Republican party and served the 16th District in the 12th Texas Legislature.

Gaines was elected to a six-year term in the Texas Senate but served only four years, from 1870-1874.

Family members attending the ceremony said words can’t describe the joy this day brought.

“This is an occasion that is almost impossible to describe. It’s taken over 130 some odd years for Senator Gaines to get recognized for his accomplishments and on this campus itself,” said Steve Bolden, the great-great-great-grandson of Gaines.

“For all those who’ve been involved, It’s been over 50 years of hard labor to try to have him recognized for the contribution he’s made to this university,” said Bolden.

Gaines died on June 11, 1900, in Giddings, Texas.

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