Museum highlights the contributions of African Americans in McLennan County

Posted at 11:52 AM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 12:58:58-05

The "Footprints of African Americans in McLennan County” exhibit at the Fort House Museum looks to showcase the often untold contributions and successes of African Americans.

It's a hidden gem on South Fourth Street in Waco.

"For too long we have let their history not be expressed with our Waco history, and it's something that the Historic Waco Foundation specifically wanted to do,” said Don Davis, Executive Director of the Historic Waco Foundation.

Everything from sports, to religion, to education - you will definitely come across a pleasant surprise learning about the many contributions by the African American community.

"Many people don't know who Kermit Oliver is, and he's known all over the world. He's part of our exhibit also,” Davis added.

Kermit Oliver is most known for his silk scarf designs sold by a prominent French designer store and is the only American to design for that vendor.

"There are many firsts that African Americans offered to our community,” Davis said.

Among those firsts, visitors will learn that James A. Harris graduated from A J Moore High School and was the first African American to co-discover chemical elements that appear on the periodic table.

Visitors will also find out that in 1966, Vivienne Malone-Mayes became the first African American woman to teach at Baylor University.

And, in 1953, Henrietta Napier became the first African American nurse for the McLennan County Health Department.

The exhibit is open through Black History Month and admission is free. Fort House Museum is located on 503 South Fourth Street in Waco.

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