Curator reveals personal connection to museum gallery

Published: Feb. 8, 2017 at 5:00 PM CST
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Curator of the Brazos Valley African American Museum Wayne Sadberry says education, honesty and opportunity are some of the most important parts of African American history.

"We used to have Black History Week when I was a kid," Sadberry said with a smile.

"I remember seeing the water fountains and asking my father which one I could drink from," said Sadberry. "My father said take your pick, so I drank from one and then drank from the other and said 'What's the difference?'".

He said growing up in Bryan, there were no black reporters on the radio or television, and unlike the big cities there weren't any local newspapers focused on African Americans.

"It doesn't make any sense for us to try and rewrite history. We're having a hard enough time trying to find out how it really was back then already," said Sadberry.

That's why since 2006, he's been working at the Brazos Valley African American Museum.

"Locally, a lot of this history wasn't recorded, so we're having to depend on things like oral history and things of that nature to figure out what happened," explained Sadberry.

Lucky for him, he had two very personal sources providing him with that oral history: his mother and father.

"They were both very positive people. They realized the plight of the African American population was not very healthy and they encouraged us, my sisters and myself, to be productive people," said Sadberry.

O.W. and Sylvia Sadberry are just two of the local pioneers featured throughout the museum. As the gallery continues to try and tell the story of African Americans in general, it serves as a home for locals to tell their stories as well.

"From the very beginning, we've had a notion of family," said Sadberry. "It's painless to come in and view the displays. We certainly want people to understand that black history is a part of our lives. It's a part of American history".

The museum is hosting movie nights every Sunday this month. A membership for the museum is just $25 a year.