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Community History Workshop Series: Preserving Our Past

Presented in conjuction with The Center for Texas Studies at TCU, these workshops are aimed at increasing the historical awareness of the community.  The series is designed to make the public aware of the important, yet often overlooked historical resources around them, and how to preserve them for posterity. The goal of the workshops is to prove that "every person is a historian," and that they can, by their deeds and actions, preserve a small part of the cultural and historical fabric of this region.

January 10: Adoption Activist Edna Gladney: A Life and Legacy of Love
Sherrie McLeRoy, Author and Scholar

Start the year with the uplifting story of Edna Gladney, namesake of the Gladney Center for Adoption. Independent scholar Sherrie McLeRoy will speak from her 2014 Gladney biography, which reveals the reform leader’s motivations and triumphs as she changed the narrative of child welfare in Texas. Nationally-known through the 1941 biopic Blossoms in the Dust, she placed over 10,000 babies with adoptive parents during her career.

Sherrie McLeRoy’s articles have appeared in Texas Highways and True West. Her latest work, Texas Women First: Leading Ladies of Lone Star History debuts February 2015. 

Edna Gladney 

February 7: The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project
Robert Darden, Associate Professor, Baylor University

Baylor Professor Robert Darden co-founded the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, the world's largest initiative to identify, acquire, catalogue, preserve, and make accessible gospel music's fast-vanishing vinyl legacy. With nearly 8,500 “sides” digitized to date, the collection will be featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Darden will discuss the history of gospel music and play samples for Black History Month.

Robert Darden is an associate professor at Baylor University. He is the author of two dozen books and numerous articles. His most recent work, Nothing But Love in God's Water, was released in October 2014. 

O Happy Day Album Cover 

March 7: Traveling the Bankhead Highway in Texas
Dan Smith, Author and Scholar

The first coast-to-coast route across the southern United States ran through Fort Worth. Bankhead Highway scholar Dan Smith will talk about the establishment of the road, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2016, and ongoing efforts to document and preserve it. Though it goes by different names depending on the locale, Camp Bowie Boulevard for one, the route is dotted with the remains of gas stations, diners, and tourist stops from the past.

Dan Smith was active in preservation and historical circles in Florida before moving to Texas. Curiosity about a narrow country road in Parker County called “Bankhead Highway” inspired his most recent book, The Bankhead Highway in Texas: A Highway History and Guide to the Earliest Texas Route

Bankhead Highway Sign 

The Center for Texas Studies at TCU is designed to celebrate all that makes Texas distinctive. It is housed in AddRan College of Liberal Arts, where various disciplines and programs can act in concert to foster and nurture the essence of Texas. History is, of course, central, but Texas literature, anthropology, ethnography, politics, religions, philosophy and design and textiles all represent elements that are a part of the incredible mosaic of Texas.

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Updated 17 December 2014

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