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Belton ISD students experience living black history lesson

Posted: 8:49 PM, Feb 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-01 19:42:37-05

BELTON, TX — Jaidyn Burgess' grandfather grew up in a segregated school system.

"With segregation, not everybody is, like equal," said Jaidyn.

"Our education was substandard and we didn't realize it until after we graduated from high school," said Roscoe Harrison, Jaidyn's grandfather.

He eventually became the first African American news anchor in Central Texas, and Thursday under the instruction of her grandfather and another former West Harris School student, Dr. Lela Butler, Jaidyn and her fellow students got to hear about those experiences.

"Want them to know it wasn't something we just read about in a textbook or something that we see on TV. It happened here in our community and there are pioneers here that paved that way for them to have the opportunities that they have right now," said Rebecca Kidder, a Belton High School social studies teacher.

What used to be West Harris School, and is now the Harris Community Center, was the only school African American students were allowed to go to. But on Thursday not only did students learn about black history, they also got a firsthand experience of what it was like to attend the school.

"This was our school from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade, and so all of us were compacted together in this one building," said Dr. Butler.

They explained the take-home message from the lesson was to remember those who came before them.

"They need to know their history. They need to know where we have come from," said Harrison.