CLiC Talk Faculty, Students, Staff, and Community Welcome Monday, November 28, 2011 2:00-3:30 pm SRSC Conference Room A Segregation

to Desegregation: A Conversation from Experience in Texas Schools

 
Panelists will share their insights and experiences about being educated in area schools and universities before and after these institutions began the process of desegregation. Panelists include Gwendolyn M. Lawe, Director of the AC McMillan African American Museum in Emory, Texas, the first (and only) institution of its kind in Rains County. She is author of From Wolf to Wolfwood: A Genealogical and Historical Study of the McMillans and the African American Communities of Emory, Texas (2011). Ms. Law is a Texas A&M-Commerce alum. Ted Lawe, first African American president of the East Texas Historical Association, has published extensively on African American history across this region and elsewhere. Angel Delgado, President of the Greenville chapter of Lulac, board member of Greenville's Corporation for Cultural Diversity, and local businessman

Founding members of the Norris Community Club, an activist group established by long-time residents of Commerce's historically segregated neighborhood (the Norris Community) in partnership with university students, NCC provided "a direct line of communication" between the city officials and local African American citizens" (Billy Reed, NCC President). Opal Pannell, a citizen of Commerce since the 1950s who was raised in the area African-American community of Neylandville, Texas, graduated from St. Paul High School (in Neylandville), and attended area colleges both before and during desegregation (including A&M-Commerce). Ms. Pannell was a founding member of the NCC, former president of the Commerce chapter of the NAACP, and long-time activist for social justice.

Billy Reed, raised in Ladonia, Texas, felt a deep bond with and responsibility to Commerce long before he moved here himself. After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, he became a conductor on the Cotton Belt Railroad. He has had close family in Commerce all his life and spent a great deal of time here, so the moment the opportunity arose to take a position on the RR based in Commerce, he took it. From that moment on, he's worked tirelessly to better ensure equal access to city resources and opportunities. Reed was founding member of NCC, NCC President, and, most recently, president of the Commerce chapter of NAACP. Harry Turner, born in the Norris Community in the late 1940s, was still a toddler when he moved to Arizona with his mother. When he returned to Commerce to live with his grandparents, he was 12, and Jim Crow Laws and customs were still in place. He graduated from Norris High School, where his many of his relatives were teachers at one time or another. He was one of the first African American students to attend A&M-Commerce after desegregation began in 1964. A local historian who presents widely on the Norris School, the Norris Community, and Mt. Moriah Temple Baptist Church, Mr. Turner is likewise tireless in his efforts to promote social justice by sharing the past and a hope for the future. Ms. Pannell, Mr. Reed, and Mr. Turner raised their children in Commerce, Texas, and are now retired from their various jobs with area companies. They live in the Norris Community. MacArthur Evans arrived in Commerce, Texas, in the early 1970s as a college student and an employee on campus. He became instantly concerned about the extensive needs of the Norris Community and wanted the university and citizens do get together and do something about it. From this commitment emerged the Norris Community Club, leading to significant change for area residents. Reverend Evans is a founding member of NCC, long-time activist, and paster of his church in Tyler, Texas. He remains deeply involved with the Norris Community and is currently at work on a grant to study economic disparities in region. Cathy Reed was born and raised in Texarkana, Texas, where she lived until 2004, when she moved to Commerce to marry Billy Reed (above). She now lives in the Norris Community and, with her husband and family, attends Griffith CME Church. Mrs. Reed will provide a vital perspective of education in East Texas. Belford Page was born and raised in Dallas, TX, and graduated from James Madison HS in 1968. He participated in Upward Bound for two summers on the SMU campus, and enrolled at East TX St in 1968 to play football on a math scholarship. Mr. Page left in 1971 to pursue football with the Green Bay Packers. He worked at the IRS until retiring a few years ago, but his son enrolled on campus in 2004, so he got back involved. He started by tutoring studentathletes, and was named President of the Athletic Association in 2010. Mr. Page brings to our conversation an urban perspective. Dr. Henry Ross has lived in Commerce, Texas, since 1985. He brings to the conversation a rich perspective concerning education in Texas at the university level. He also speaks as a father. He had one daughter graduate from Commerce ISD and two to graduate from East Texas State University. He is currently an Instructor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. These individuals will be joined by others who are certain to further enrich our understanding of segregation and desegregation in this region. As those profiles become available, I will continue to add them here. In the meantime, please plan on joining us Monday, 11/28/11, for conversation and celebration.

CLiC Talks, presented by local citizens and faculty across the disciplines, promote a better understanding of how texts and related literacy practices may develop, sustain, or even erode civic engagement across local publics, especially among historically underrepresented groups. Our next CLiC Talk will be February 1, 2012. Our focus will be voting and voters in region and help launch a campus and community-wide voter registration drive to coincide with a series of events in celebration of Black History Month. If you would like to present become involved, please contact Shannon Carter (Shannon_Carter@tamucommerce.edu), Literature and Languages.