orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

February 21, 2014

Orange African American Museum event to honor Black History Month

ORANGE — Local heroes and pioneering families will be honored during the Orange African American Museum event to honor Black History Month from noon- 5 p.m. Saturday at The Ware Plaza located at 319 West Park Ave. in Orange.

“We want to honor the first blacks from Orange,” Henry Lowe, president of the museum said. “We have had many first in several fields such as education, sports and civic leaders.”

Lowe is tracing the history of Orange and searching for more information concerning possible descendants of several African American families.

“I discovered in my research that in 1857, the total population in Orange was 1,277,” Lowe said. “Of that, 282 were slaves and 26 free blacks.”

Lowe said he would like to locate any descendants who may still be living in the area. He is currently searching for the names of free 26.

“People can come by on Saturday and see what we have been working on,” Lowe said. “These pioneers paved the way for us.”

Displays will include information about the first NAACP President in Orange, as well as the first black State Trooper from Orange.

“Essie Bellfield holds a double first,” Lowe said. “She was the first black and the first female mayor of Orange.”

Bellfield currently serves on the Orange City Council as Council Member District 3.

“We want to honor first blacks,” Lowe said. “Many accomplished quiet a bit in dire conditions.”

Jazz music will be provided by the Alonzo Williams Trio.  Admission is free.

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