Tyler Public Library celebrates first Black families at Liberty Hall

Coming up in February, the City of Tyler will celebrate Black History Month through a program presented by the Tyler Public Library on Friday, Feb. 24, at 6:00 PM at Liberty Hall. The event will be emceed by Councilwoman Dr. Shirley McKellar.

The program will recognize the first African American families of Tyler and Smith County through a series of presentations. The East Texas Genealogical Society will honor the descendants of early trailblazers from 1846 through 1855. The research on these families was conducted by Dorothy Franks, Founder of the Texas Slaves History and Inventory Preservation Project and Councilwoman Dr. Shirley McKellar.

The event will include a dramatic reading of stories of Tyler’s first Black families from the book Slave Narratives of Texas, including a reenactment depicting the life of Aunt Cely Goodman and inspirational singing by the North Tenneha Church of Christ male choir.

After the presentation, author Debra Christian will speak about her great-great-grandfather and veteran, Butcher Christian, the first former slave to receive a Texas State Historical Marker. There will be a signing of her book, From Slavery to Bravery, following the event. All proceeds will go to the Tyler Public Library.

The event is free and open to the public. The Friends of the Library organization will be providing free refreshments.

Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin Street in Tyler and the doors open at 5:00 PM.

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Jade Allen

Jade Allen

Jade Allen explores East Texas to bring the most exciting activities and locations to The East Texas Weekend. Jade came to Texas in 2018, where it has steadily become a home and a place to explore.