Danielle Burns Wilson, Curator and Manager, African American Library at the Gregory School
The collaboration between HISD and African American Library at the Gregory School (Gregory School), provides new field trip opportunities for HISD students, and encourages more teachers and students to visit the Gregory School. he Gregory School is also a museum, meeting space, and event location.
The first floor consists of a restoration of an early 20th century classroom, an exhibit space, and several galleries that depict the history of Houston through the experiences of African Americans. Knowing that the classroom, galleries, and exhibit space are powerful educational tools, the Gregory School commenced the HISD tours in September 2016. The pilot year served 4th and 5th graders from a selection of area schools.
During the tours, students asked questions about the artifacts, photographs, and informative pieces they saw. One of the most important takeaways was connecting students’ lives and local history. Many students recognized photos of Booker T. Washington High School or Jack Yates High School as the alma mater of their parents and grandparents. Others were astonished to learn about African American doctors, entrepreneurs, artists, and politicians from their hometown.
For the academic year of 2016-2017, 832 students from 12 elementary schools visited the Gregory School as a part of this collaboration. This unique learning experience fulfilled Texas history curriculum requirements and connected the community in new and meaningful ways.