Celebrating I.M. Terrell High Schoolby Representative Marc A. Veasey
Posted on 2013-02-26
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Mr. VEASEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise during this month of February, also
known as Black History Month, to celebrate a piece of African American
history in my own hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. I want to acknowledge
a legacy that began over 130 years ago, when the Fort Worth School
System opened its first public school for Black students, now known as
I.M. Terrell High School.
Officially, I.M. Terrell High School was established for the education of African American students in the City of Fort Worth, but the school was much more than that. In a time of formal segregation, the school became a safe haven, a place where the teachers knew all of their students and their parents. It was a community where people cared about and respected each other.
In 1882, a great man named Isaiah Milligan Terrell moved to Fort Worth to serve as Principal and superintendent of Black schools. In 1910, he was appointed principal of the North Side Colored High School and served in this position until 1915.
[[Page E189]] After his tenure at North Side, Mr. Terrell continued his role as an exceptional administrator. He went on to make significant contributions to Prairie View Normal College, now known as Prairie View A&M University. Mr. Terrell also helped to raise funds for the establishment of Houston Negro Hospital, later known as the Riverside General Hospital in Houston, Texas.
In 1921, North Side High school was renamed a final time, in the namesake of its great principal, I.M. Terrell High School.
I.M. Terrell High School was truly a second home for the students and faculty who met there from cities like Arlington, Bedford, Benbrook, Burleson, Roanoke and Weatherford. In all, the high school took in students from 16 cities where African Americans were not allowed to attend school.
Although its students, teachers, and faculty came from diverse backgrounds and environments they entered the halls of I.M. Terrell with one common goal: to achieve excellence. I.M. Terrell High School has become a symbol of pride and a beacon of hope for Fort Worth. When African Americans were struggling for human dignity and civil rights, the teachers and administrators at I.M. Terrell used education as a way to lead our youth on a path to righteousness. They knew that education was the great equalizer and when applied correctly, it would always lead to success. What I.M. Terrell High School has done for the North Texas community will never be forgotten. The mark left on all of our lives is too great to measure.
Mr. Speaker, it has been said that the most important subject we can study to preserve the progress of any culture, and any nation, is history. So today, during the month of February when we celebrate Black History Month in our country, I stand to honor a rich history that has instilled important values into the Fort Worth community, including education, knowledge, and perseverance. I.M. Terrell's legacy is profound: as a school that was founded less than 20 years after the civil war, in a community that knew the next great battlefield would be the classroom; a community that proudly fought for equal education, a right that for centuries had been withheld from African Americans; and an institution whose doors have been closed for almost 40 years, but whose legacy is still alive.
Today, I proclaim that education is the path we must take to achieve social, economic and cultural progress necessary for success in the 21st century and beyond. Let us use the lessons learned from this great institution as a guiding light for success, and follow the path pioneered by visionaries who began at I.M. Terrell High School.