MARSHALL, TEXAS

Marshall Texas is a town of greatness. The history and people is a greatness that everyone needs to know. I was astonished at my lack of knowledge of Marshall’s past, and yes, Marshall’s present. I found information that I should have known and everyone in Texas and the U.S. should know. So, this issue of our magazine contains not only the usual basic history facts, sites, buildings, and homes. It also contains some of the history of the African American community of Marshall. Texas history of discrimination is what I like to call ‘messy’. Things occurred which should never have taken place. Atrocities, which everyone of sound mind today wish they could have prevented. But out of that brutality and evil arose people of greatness. In spite of the killings and oppressions, many Black people from Marshall rose to the top of U.S. history. This country would not be the same without these people’s contributions and you will read about them in this month’s issue. After you read about these individuals, you should look up a more detailed history about them. Here are but a few of them.:

Matthew Winfred Dogan, Sr.
Joseph J. Rhoads
Wiley College
Bishop College
Henry B. Pemberton
Melvin B. Tolson
James Farmer
Fred Lewis
Romeo Williams
Mack Hopkins
Omar Sharriff
Samuel and Jean Birmingham

There are many more that I haven’t listed and many more in the background that we don’t know about. I referred to the Texas history of discrimination as ‘messy’ because I view it as past history, but it still ‘messes with’ current interactions. There are still African Americans that have resentments from the history of discrimination. I think that is a baggage that needs to be thrown away. Not forgotten but left behind. Resentment towards people today who were not involved in that past is wrong, and nearly all those involved are either too old to be concerned with or they are dead. I think the resentment is actually a feeling that the accomplishments are not important to “others” because they don’t at least seek to know about this greatness. If there were awareness of the almost unbelievable achievements of these individuals, there would be a remarkable change in attitudes of both sides of this equation. We considered leaving Walter P. Lane out of this magazine because of his history of running Black people out of Marshall. But that history is important to know as well as his decorated history of fighting in the war. We don’t have to agree with events, but we should know about them! So look inside of Marshall and become aware of this history. All of us would benefit from the knowledge as we become more united. We would like to thank the following: Glenda Clay for taking time out of her busy day to open the H.B. Pemberton Heritage Center. Harrison County Historical Museum and Marshall Convention & Visitors Bureau. Algona North cemetery employee who stopped and took the time to show us the location of Omar Sharriff’s grave. Whoever left Powder Mill Cemetery’s gate unlocked on the day we happened to go there. Security guards, Mrs Brooks, Mr. White and Wiley College for their assisstance. Historic homeowners that tolerated us entering their property to photograph the homes and historical markers. God for giving us some periods of sunshine each day between the thunderstorms on the two days spent photographing the locations in Marshall.

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