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Summer History Project
by Samuel Collins III
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Calling all Galveston County High School & Junior High School students.  Are you looking for something neat to do this summer?  Consider learning about the history of Galveston County.  According to the Texas Historical Commission website there are 273 historical markers in Galveston County.

Several of these markers are listed on the Historical Marker Database website , but not all of them.  A great summer project would be to find each county marker, take a photo and upload it to the website.  It is very easy to do and you could learn some very interesting history too.

What could you learn you may ask?  You could learn about the history of Ball High School & Central High School.  You could learn about the Army Camp, U.S. at Texas City and Camp Wallace in Hitchcock.  You could learn about B’nai Israel Synagogue and Reedy Chapel AME Church.

You may be inspired by men like Carmelo “Charles” Bertolino or Norris Wright Cuney.  Did you know Galveston has the oldest Chamber of Commerce in the state of Texas?  Do you know what year it was formally chartered?

As I prepared these examples I noticed a lot of history was missing.  I found many historical markers about men, but what about the women that helped shaped this county? 

How many people know about Jessie McGuire Dent?  She was a BOI and one of the founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Mrs. Dent battled the Galveston School District in court and won equal wages for Black teachers.

A second part of this summer project is to look for the gaps in our county history.  How can you fill the gaps if you do not know they exist and how can you know they exist if you fail to research our history?

Get off the couch this summer.  Put down the video controllers for a week or two.  Stop tweeting, sending text messages and deactivate your facebook page for a month.  Grab your smart phone or digital camera, call some real friends and hit the street together in search of history.

Why is history important and why does it matter?  David McCollough (American author b.1933) is quoted with saying, "If you know history, you know that there is no such thing as a self-made man or self-made woman. We are shaped by people we have never met. Yes, reading history will make you a better citizen and more appreciative of the law, and of freedom, and of how the economy works or doesn't work, but it is also an immense pleasure—the way art is, or music is, or poetry is. And it's never stale."

Learn to appreciate your history and the sacrifices of those that came before you.  In the early 1980’s playing my Atari video game was fun, but while I was playing games history was being made.  The summer of 2011 could be historic in your life or it could be just another summer you spent playing games.

Remembering Jim Guidry GRCC Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

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