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Fort Worth Local History Month

June is Fort Worth Local History Month!

Discover historic Fort Worth - a unique city filled with rich cultural heritage.


Join us as we unveil an exhibit of items from our Latino American Archives! The exhibit will draw from items documenting the Latino experience in Fort Worth which were donated or loaned for digitization to the Archives as partners in Latino Americans: 500 Years of History. The reception will include food, fun, and music for the whole family. There will be piñata-making for kids, a papel picado craft for teens, a magician, and a piñatas!

The Importance of Voting - Political Equality and Inclusiveness

Tarrant County Black Historical & Genealogical Society presents a discussion on the importance of voting, voter registration, and eligibility requirements. Program presented by Jimmy R. Killingsworth.

An Evening with Fort Worth Jazz Legends - Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, King Curtis and Cornell Dupree

As part of Fort Worth Local History Month, we are honoring Fort Worth musical greats whose music is now known around the world. Born and raised in Fort Worth’s rich, diverse and creative musical environment, these musicians took in all music they heard and created their own forms and styles of musical expression that are now known and honored around the world. This is a tribute to their genius, individualism and music.

2nd Annual Fort Worth History Bike Tour

Pedal your way around Historic Southside and downtown buildings with Cowtown Cycle Party. Or come along on one of Cowtown Cycle Party’s new electric bikes. Includes a tour of Rahr Brewery afterwards. Join guides Rene Gomez, Rick Selcer and Judge Quentin McGown as you step back in time and exercise at the same time. Ages 18 and up. Limited Seating. Reservations required, please call 817-392-7740.

Location Change
The new starting location is at Gordon Bowell Flowers, 1220 Pennsylvania Avenue

Cowtown Cycle Party

Dr. Marion J. Brooks Living Legend Awards

The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum honors outstanding civic and community leaders at the 23rd Living Legend Awards, presented to citizens who have dedicated their lives to community service.

2016 Honorees

Deborah Whitlock Peoples - Government: Living up to her last name, Deborah is known as a “People Person” for her ability to connect with people. She credits her ability to reach out to being born into a large and boisterous family where individuality was encouraged; so, she learned at an early age to respect the views of others. She also learned to value education receiving both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas where she currently serves as President of the Black Alumni Association. After retiring in 2012 as a Vice President for a major Telecommunications company, Deborah ran for and won the job of Chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, a post she holds today. Peoples believes in empowering and lifting up others and holds memberships in organizations whose goals match hers including The Links Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Sickle Cell Anemia Board, Black Women Lawyers of Tarrant County. She is also proud of her service on the American Red Cross board North Texas Region and the North Texas board for the United Negro College Fund. She is also a huge supporter of Plaid for Women!

Dr. Gwendolyn Morrison - Community Service: Dr. Gwendolyn Morrison worked as teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District from 1987 to 1989 before becoming Director of Employee Staffing for the district where she implemented a staffing unit for recruiting and hiring all professional employees for the district. She also developed the “grow your own teacher” program to promote teacher aides and school secretaries into certified teachers. Dr. Morrison is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Tarrant County College District and the Board of Directors for the Community Hospice of Texas and the Community Food Band. She also serves as secretary for the Greater Fort Worth Area Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club.

Sherri Branch-Breed - Education: Sherry Branch-Breed, a lifelong resident of Fort Worth, comes from a family of educators. It should be no surprise that she has dedicated her professional career to the children of the Fort Worth Independent School District. After observing the contributions and dedication of both her mother and grandmother to their students, it was never really an issue as to what she would do when she was deciding on her career. After receiving a BS from Texas A&M University at Commerce, Mrs. Breed taught pre-kindergarten and first-grade students at S.S. Dillow Elementary School. During these early years, she realized the importance of additional education for herself. She returned to school and received her master’s degree from Texas Christian University. After teaching five years, she was designated Instructional specialist at Como Elementary School, where coincidently she had attended as a child, and where her grandmother had taught. Most recently, Mrs. Breed has been designated to establish the new division of Equity and Excellence where Mrs. Breed will serve as Chief of Equity and Excellence. Mrs. Breed anticipates this department being an integral department in managing equitable practices throughout the district to ensure students of color received the highest quality education possible.

Alcee Chriss, Sr. - Public Service: Alcee Chriss Sr. was born in New Orleans Louisiana April 1, 1920. He attended public schools and graduated from McDonough #35 high school in 1938. He enrolled at Southern University, Baton Rouge that same year. While at Southern he pledged Omega Psi Phi in 1940. In 1942 while still a student at Southern, he was drafted into the service and went into the Marine Corps. He was a member of the Montfort Point Marines, the first African-Americans inducted into the Marine Corps. He served in the Pacific and attained the rank of platoon sergeant. In 1946, he was honorably discharged from the Marines in California. He attended school for tailoring and drafting. In 1947 he moved to Chicago where he married Algeria Moore. He moved to New Orleans and opened a tailor shop. He completed his B.S. degree in 1953 at Southern, and taught tailoring for several years. He worked for the U.S. Post Office for 29 years and retired in 1984. Mr. Chriss worked with the Boy Scouts of America for 44 years. He is one of the founders of Bethany United Methodist Church in New Orleans. He is an active member of his church, and volunteers at the Tarrant Area Food Bank. He is also an active member of Omega Psi Phi and the National Montford Point Marine Association. In June of 2012, he along with other survivors received the Congressional Gold Medal for service to the country as Montford Point Marines.

Ray Reed - Entertainment: Ray Reed from Maypearl, a small town south of Ft. Worth, TX, was born the son of sharecroppers in 1940. Growing up, he listened to records on his grandma’s Victrola such as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Little Son Jackson and Rosetta Tharpe. He saved his money from working in the cotton fields, and at the age of 16, he bought his first guitar at a pawn shop in Ft. Worth. Since then, he has played all over the US and represents the origins of delta blues as played in South Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Former bass player for Freddie King, Ray knows it all from his vast experience in playing and singing the blues.

Beginners African American Genealogy Seminar

In honor of Juneteenth, Fort Worth Library Genealogist Jabari Jones will offer a class that is focused on beginning African American family history research. The class will focus on African American resources on the Internet, book resources, and family folklore.

Last updated: June 14, 2016

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