OUR MISSION 

To collect and preserve recent and historical accomplishments of African Americans who made significant contribution to the Corsicana community. The GW Jackson Multicultural Society is able to fulfill its mission largely through the gifts and vision of the late Lois Jean Hart, a former student and Salutatorian at the famously excellent GW Jackson High School for African Americans.

 

A major project is the construction of a park featuring a life-sized bronze sculpture of the beloved teacher, educator and first principal of the school, GW Jackson, whose life was dedicated to education and the betterment of all. The park will offer a variety of educational programs with emphasis on Black cultural history especially regarding music and the arts.

History of GW Jackson Multicultural Society

The GW Jackson Multicultural Society was founded by a small group of local citizens in collaboration with the Corsicana Visitors’ Center. Its main objective was to complete a mission began by the late Lois Jean Hart. Mrs. Hart, a recognized community leader, educator and activist was praise by former Mayor C.L. “Buster” Brown for her outstanding work in the city of Corsicana. On the front page of the Corsicana Daily Sun (2009) titled; Lois Jean Hart-Community Activist and Educator, Brown quoted the following, “She was an institution around here.” Mrs. Hart was a former student of GW Jackson who was the first African American principal of Fred Douglas School. The school was later renamed GW Jackson High School. He served this community from 1881-1927. Mrs. Hart, a recognized community leader and educator, purchased the property at 708 Martin Luther King Boulevard and 5th Street several years before her demise. This is the land on which Mr. Jackson’s home stood. Her purpose for purchasing the land was to restore the old structure so that it could become a multicultural center and museum for the African American community and all of Navarro County.

In 2008, under the leadership of Gwen Chance, Mrs. Hart’s sister, a research and development planning committee was organized. This committee was composed of key leaders of the city and in partnership with the Visitor Center. It was during this time that Mrs. Hart’s sister decided to move forward to establish the GW Jackson Multicultural Society Board. Mrs. Hart’s family signed legal documents to place the property in the name of the Board to carry out the Vision of Mrs. Hart. The board president purchased a second lot and later the board voted to purchase a third lot adjacent to the original property for parking. The board meets monthly at a variety of local venues. The mission is to rebuild the facility and collect, preserve, and interpret both past and present historical contributions of diverse ethnic groups with an emphasis on African Heritage. Located on a major thoroughfare here in the city, the facility will be a place for children and families to learn more about their cultural heritage. The Society is organized with a Governing board and an Advisory board. The Advisory board was created to include representatives from the broader community who expressed interest in the vision and mission of the board.

The society sponsored the first fundraising event in 2009, a jazz concert featuring James (Red) Holloway, and the James Gilyard Ensemble featuring Dino Newman, son of the late David “Fathead” Newman, a world famous jazz saxophonist who was born in Corsicana. Their events include Corsicana’s very own Bobby Sparks’ “An Evening of Jazz,” October 2010; three successful rodeos in 2014, 2016 and 2017; a Gospel concert celebrating Black History Month and Martin Luther King Day in 2015. In 2019, the board sponsored Thelma Houston, a 70’s Motown Grammy award winner. These musical events were held at the Palace Theatre. Funds raised from all major events are budgeted for program operations and to be saved for future projects. Finally, the members of the board have outstanding skills in food preparation and have sponsored several barbecues and a fish fry. The funds from these annual events are designated for the year-round maintenance of the property.

The current goal is to open up Legacy Park on the GW Jackson's homestead. The park will be a place to honor the history of the place and invite new reasons to make history. The Legacy Project is the current funding effort for the Society. The goal is to raise enough money for the park dedication in 2021. All donations are welcome.

The GW Jackson Multicultural Board is a 501 (c) (3) federal non-profit tax-exempt organization. The future site and Restoration Preservation Project of the Jackson Homestead was adopted by the city of Corsicana’s Heritage Preservation Project, “Visionaries in Preservation Action Plan Report” in 2009. The board has participated in numerous partnerships with 100 West Residency Program to bring artists from around the country to share their talents with the community. Some of the events included the 2017 Juneteenth Art Exhibit “Resurrection: The Spiritual Qualities of Trash,” the 2018 Black History Month Open House performances by the Artists in residency, and in February 2019, supported two writers, Pam Neal who conducted a writers workshop on “Sharing Our Stories” and Lucas Schaeffer. We have also participated with the Back-to-School Rally for the past three years. The Society has held memberships with several organizations over the years. These include the Corsicana/Navarro County Chamber of Commerce, Preservation Foundation, NAACP, JESA and Corsicana Genealogy Society. We will continue to coordinate with other local organizations such as the NAACP, JESA, Pioneer Village, and any other entity interested in the mission of our organization.

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“Her memory goes a long way towards motivating people to move our community forward.”

Mayor C.L. "Buster" Brown 

Praise of Ms. Hart

Donate

If you are feeling led to donate to our Society after learning a little more about us, please do! Any and all donations help fund not only The Legacy Project but future projects as well.

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Meet the Board of Directors

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Gwendolyn Chance

President

Retired Early Childhood Specialist/Trainer

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Penny Liggins

Vice President

Guardian Home Health

Care Aide

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Ruby Williams

Treasurer

Retired Business Owner/

City Government

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Jasmine White

Secretary

Navarro College Student

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Charles Betts

Director of Residence Life/Housing Navarro College

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Joe Brooks

Retired Educator/Art & Culture Philanthropist

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Elmeree Burrell

Retired Educator/

Community Volunteer

Advisory Board Members

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Leah Blackard

Ex. Director, Palace Theatre & 

Navarro Council of the Arts

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Belinda Burkhart, MAPD

Child & Family Advocacy/Intervention

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Kenneth Martin, Ph.D.

Retired President Navarro College, Ennis

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Lowell Dunn, PC

Attorney, Real Estate and

Tax Law

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Lois Garrett

Office Manager, Super 1

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Nancy Rebal

Founding Artist, Corsicana Artist & Writer Residency

Founding Partner, ArtTown Corsicana, LLC