Texas African American Museum striving to preserve history

Texas African American Museum striving to preserve history
Updated: Jul. 21, 2018 at 4:25 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Often times, African American history is only recognized during the month of February.

Founders of the Texas African American Museum felt their history slowly slipping away, now they are hoping to change that with the opening of the museum.

"Some of the things I've seen in this little museum, I've not seen in history books, I've not seen online," visitor Cramoeya Cooper said.

Though it may be small, the Texas African American Museum packs an exurbanite amount of information.

"When they come into this museum, you can see what our fore-parents went through," co-founder Gloria Washington said.

The museum showcases everything from hundred-year-old guitars, and Motown records to old fashion washboards and voting poll taxes.

"I applaud our African American ancestors, I really do, because without a past, guess what?" Washington said. "We have no future."

Washington along with her co-founder Clarence Shackleford wanted a place where the new generation could celebrate history every day. Cooper says it was long overdue.

"I think as time goes on, a lot of things are being lost, a lot of things are being buried," Cooper said. "I think just the truth of who we are as Black people should boast and rise from the ashes."

Most of the artifacts in the museum were donated by its founders. Cooper brought her kids to the museums to educate them and says she hopes other will do the same.

"It's imperative that we as parents and we as a Black people continue to allow the history, the true history, the things that they don't teach you in school, not die out," Cooper said.

The museum is focused on sharing as much information as possible, not just the history of African Americans in East Texas.

The museum offers details of the recently re-opened case of Emmett Till, and offers literature of some of the most influential African Americans in history.

"That's why this museum is so important," Washington said. "We are trying to make lives better for the future generation."

The museum is located at 2822 W. Erwin St. in Tyler and is open Thursday to Saturday from 5 to 9p.m.

Washington encourages the public to come and ask questions about their past and keep history alive.

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