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Houston's first African American school now preserves the city's Black history

The Gregory School was the first school for Black children in Houston. Now it is a library that houses the African American experience of the past and present.

HOUSTON — An old building that sits tucked away just blocks from the busy bars in Midtown used to serve as the first school for African American children in Houston.

That building was called The Gregory School back in the early 1900s. But in 2009, the city bought the building and sold it to the Houston Public Library system. 

Houston Public Library then renovated it and turned it into The African American Library at The Gregory School

Inside the library, you'll find a collection of donated materials that document the African American experience of the past and present. 

"As we know in history, African American history wasn't always documented," said Miguell Ceaser who manages operations at the African American Library.  "So the fact that the city saw a need to actually have a building, and a monument to African American history. I feel like it is the community's responsibility to come see it.

The first floor is made up of collections of artifacts, exhibits and galleries. There's also a refurbished classroom keeping the feel of the original architecture of the building. 

The second floor houses all of the archival collections. 

Ceaser said the library is currently working to create the biggest repository of funeral programs. 

"We can trace our lineage so if you do have those, please donate those," Ceaser said. 

For now, the pandemic is halting in-person programming and visits to the library, but you still have access online. 

And for Black History Month, the library is doing a virtual four-part series on the African American family to commemorate the month.

For more information on The African American Library at The Gregory School, click here

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