Brazos Valley African American Museum to celebrate ten years

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BRYAN - Friday night, you’re invited to Downtown Bryan to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Brazos Valley African American Museum.

“I was very surprised that we had our own museum,” said Texas A&M senior Laura Star.

For a sociology extra credit assignment, she was charged with exploring local African American heritage, and an internet search led her to the museum.

“You come to this museum, you’ll see the continent of Africa,” said Museum Curator Oliver Sadberry. “You’ll see parts of this country, and we made some contributions in most parts of this country.”

In the museum on Pruitt and Houston Avenue, you’ll learn the history of local churches, families and schools. You’ll read about and see photographs of an African American Bryan High-School Principal in the seventies. And you’ll understand what it meant to grow up black in the Brazos Valley.

“I’ve already learned that African Americans have founded over 20 churches in the area,” said Star. “When the African Americans came, there was no church that they were accepted in, so they had to start and found their own.“

Friday, the Museum will celebrate ten years in the community, a chance Sadberry says to honor those who’ve offered support over the years and to let the community know they are here.

“The general public probably doesn’t realize when this area began, a quarter of the population were African American, so we have a vested interest in what’s here,” said Sadberry.

And like Laura Star, a vested interest in education that she believes can bridge gaps.

“Getting into the African American culture, I’m able to relate more to these individuals, and our beliefs aren’t that different and we were raised kind of in the same way,” said Star.

That celebration will happen Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Downtown Bryan at the Palace Theater.

This weekend, in conjunction with the museum’s celebration the E.A. Kemp High School reunion is running through Sunday. Kemp was the only African American high school in Brazos County before schools were desegregated during the civil rights movement.