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The Battalion

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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Preserving black history in Bryan

The+Brazos+Valley+African+American+Museum+is+on+East+Pruitt+Street+in+Bryan.
Provided

The Brazos Valley African American Museum is on East Pruitt Street in Bryan.

During Black History month and all year long, the Brazos Valley African American Museum preserves an often-overlooked history.
Established in 2006, the museum was constructed on the property that belonged to the first African-American school in Bryan, founded in 1885. Museum curator Wayne Sadberry said keeping this spot the center of African-American learning is the main purpose of the museum.
“We’re trying to tell a story; we’re trying to draw attention to certain aspects of our society that we feel need to be recognized,” Sadberry said. “We’re not trying to reinvent the world; we’re just trying to uncover. There was a lot of history that was going unnoticed by the majority population so we feel that it’s come upon us to bring that to the attention of the public.”
Nancy Self, a member of the museum’s committee and former professor in the College of Education at Texas A&M, said it’s important to educate future generations through the museum.
“It portrays the heritage of the African-Americans in the Brazos Valley,” Self said. “It’s important for young people to have role models and to see the struggles that the people have gone through over the years in order to claim their rightful place in the community and in society and for an appreciation for what the African-American culture has contributed to this whole community as well as to the world.”
Co-founder of the museum Willie Pruitt said the museum sheds light on African-American accomplishments that would have otherwise been lost.
“[It] lets you see some of the things that you don’t know about the history of the African-American living in Brazos Valley,” Pruitt said. “We always have had some outstanding blacks in our neighborhood, but there was no way of showing it, so we’ve got the museum here, and we can show what the African-Americans did in the Brazos Valley.”
On Friday, the museum is hosting its 18th Annual Appreciation Banquet to honor those who have made important contributions to the community. The Appreciation Banquet is also the museum’s main source of income and the determining factor in how successful events and exhibits will be developed and operated.
Self said the banquet is necessary for the museum to continue its mission of educating the public.
“The banquet is another great opportunity for the people who attend to appreciate the role models who are right here in our community and to provide that knowledge to their children so they have someone to look up to,” Self said.
Museum admission is free through the end of February. For more information about the museum or the banquet, visit bvaam.org.

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