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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Preserving the people who persevered

The+In+Fulfillment+of+a+Dream+Archive+exhibits+a+partial+history+of+African-Americans+at+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+University.+The+exhibit+can+be+found+at+Cushing+Memorial+Library+and+Archives%2C+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+University+and+contains+many+photos%2C+negatives%2C+and+documents.
Photo by Photo By Cristian Aguirre

The In Fulfillment of a Dream Archive exhibits a partial history of African-Americans at Texas A&M University. The exhibit can be found at Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University and contains many photos, negatives, and documents.

An archive at Cushing Memorial Library preserves the contributions, involvement and impact of African-Americans who have been entwined in Texas A&M dating back to its commencement in 1876.
The In Fulfillment of a Dream exhibit made its debut in the spring of 2001 at Cushing, but has since has become an online exhibit with a few remaining physical catalogues, according to Rebecca Hankins, Africana Resources Librarian and Curator. This exhibit reveals the history of African-Americans in the past 125 years at A&M by exploring complexities such as racial segregation, desegregation and unceasing determination through photographs, documents and texts.
The online exhibit can be viewed via the gallery index of Cushing’s archives and contains eight components: a preface, a timeline of important events, the purpose of the Prairie View campus, African-Americans workers at Texas A&M, African-Americans in the Corps of Cadets, African-Americans in sports at A&M, African-Americans in Student Life and Traditions and African-Americans as administrators, faculty and staff.
Hankins said when the exhibit started it was highly successful in recognizing individuals in the African-American community who rose to prominent positions. Hankins said it is important to see the tenacity that was instilled in the African-American history at A&M.
“If you stick it out and you’re brave enough to stick it out then you can be an example,” Hankins said. “A lot of the people in the exhibit are examples. They sang ‘We belong here. This is our university too. So we’re going to go where we want to go and not allow somebody else to determine that.’ That’s the message — nobody has the right to tell you where you cannot go. Persistence and bravery is so important.”
Hankins has one of the catalogues and said she appreciates how the chronology in the exhibit shows the historical transitions of African-Americans at A&M.
“I like the chronology because it definitely lays out the history of the institution itself,” Hankins said. “I like how it shows that African-Americans played a significant part in the building and the carving of the institution. It goes into how they were really kept out of the institution even though it was intended for all. It talks about what was endured.”
Hankins said she had the chance to meet Sunny Nash, Class of 1977, and Woodrow Jones, the College of Liberal Arts Dean from 1994-2000. Both individuals are featured in the student life and administration sections of the exhibit in recognition of their contributions and achievements at A&M.
During her time at A&M, Nash was a program director at KAMU and a news reporter for the current radio station KTSR. While serving as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Jones created the Department of Performing Arts and international and multicultural courses were added to curriculum for liberal arts students.
Sarah Gheida, wildlife and fisheries sciences junior, has viewed the exhibit and said she was surprised at the administration, faculty and staff section that features people like Dan Jackson, who worked as a janitor for over 50 years.
“I hadn’t realized African-Americans had held so many supporting staff roles at Texas
A&M before being allowed to attend the school,” Gheida said. “I think it is important that more students view this virtual exhibit because it taught me about the role of African-Americans at the university over time. It also taught me more about Texas A&M’s history as a whole. It had a lot of useful historical information about African-American struggles on a national, statewide and
university level.”
According to Avery Young, molecular and cell biology junior, there is still work that needs to be done to reconcile racial disparities and despite the exhibit’s timeline ending at 2000, the endeavor for equality has not.
“The impact of hiring an African-American professor is tenfold,” Young said. “You are putting a person that historically has not held a high position in society into the status of honor that a professor wields. To any students sitting in that classroom, African-American or white, that professor is an example of a dedicated scholar, and that has nothing to do with skin color. It can inspire and simultaneously breakdown prejudices, and I think that’s something really important to pass onto the next generation.”

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