ACTIVITY DIRECTOR MARY ALLEN MUSEUM
By Greg Ritchie
The Messenger continues its Sunday Sitdown reports where we speak with our local pastors, educators, local businesspeople, students and interesting people of all walks of life in Houston County. To see the full video interview, click on the link below to view the video on our Facebook page. The Messenger would like to thank Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for sponsoring this week’s edition.
What exactly is your role at the Mary Allen Museum?
“I am the activity director and an advisory board member. I helped out in different areas so more people are aware of what we have here. My job is to put together activities and help find different ways to help the museum grow.”
As a descendant of people who studied at Mary Allen College, how does it feel to now be working to preserve that history?
“That didn’t hit me until I was at the Founders’ Day Celebration and just hearing everyone’s story like Miss Nancy Givens who attended Mary Allen College and she’s still here. Hearing how rich the history is and being a descendant myself and living next to the to the ruins – it was mind-blowing when it hit me. Everything is laid out the way it’s supposed to be. And it makes me proud to know I can continue their legacy and I was able to go to Preview A&M University where my family members also went after going to Mary Allen. So I’m proud.”
Do you think we will ever have another traditionally African-American college in our area?
“I really hope so. Especially during my lifetime, that would be a beautiful thing to see. But I think the community really needs to be more optimistic about the growth of Crockett – there’s so much potential here. There’s so much talent and there are hundreds of intelligent people who can make anything happen. All we need is a plan.”
You are an artist studying to be a therapist. What are your plans for the future?
“My ultimate goal is to become an art-therapist. I am very passionate about mental health, not only in the black community, but for everyone. I care about people’s mental health. And I am a nerd. So I am infatuated with the brain. Growing up, I was in those gifted and talented classes and we always had projects and I would always do the brain. And of course, I’m a lover of art. So I decided to just put the two together. Why not do ‘art-therapy?’ I can’t call it art-therapy because I’m not yet a licensed therapist – but I will be and I am excited to combine all of my passions together.”
What can be done to promote wider and better education in the African American community?
“Since I am an educator myself, I have noticed some educators don’t treat students like humans – they treat them like the children are beneath them. ‘You are going to do what I say. You’ll grow up and you’ll figure it out. You will figure it out on your own.’ And I am not that type of educator at all. I believe in nurturing from the moment I have a student until they’re no longer with me. That plays an important part in a child’s growth and development. I would say we need to be kinder to these kids. And the kinder you are and the more you treat them like a person, the more they want to learn and the more they want to do more for themselves. I see light in my students, they will see the light, too. And it will push them to want more for themselves. More diversity, more inclusion, more acceptance.”
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]