East Texas Black History Tour - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/16/07 - Lufkin

East Texas Black History Tour

by Tashun Chism

Reverend Bettie Kennedy is a busy woman. Especially during the month of February when she tours different venues to teach East Texans about black history.

"I've gone to Kinard, and locally to several nursing homes and to schools and just anywhere. You can just stop me on the streets," Kennedy said.

Reverend Bettie's Black History tour is full of art, pictures and poetry and she focuses on a different Black leader at each stop. We caught up with her at the Lufkin Wal-Mart where she was teaching East Texans about Sojourner Truth.

"Sojourner wrote a poem called 'Ain't I a Woman?'. It was around 1824, but that poem is still true today and it's a dynamic piece of our heritage," said Kennedy.

An important part of Reverend Bettie's display is authentic African instruments which she says are instrumental in sharing stories about the Black experience.

"The response this morning has been excellent. There was a little 5-year-old that came by and I was deeply impressed with his questions as he picked up the instruments to hear the sounds," Kennedy told us.

Reverend Bettie enjoys sharing Black History with people of all ages and racial and ethnic backgrounds. A big reason why she is so well respected throughout the East Texas community.

"I think the Black community overall has grown tremendously as far as their education and their abilities, and it's people like Ms. Kennedy that's gotten people out to do that sort of thing. I think it's real important everybody know that," said shopper Connie Weismuller.

Reverend Bettie knows it's important for older people to share their history and knowledge with young people all year long and not just in February.

"So that children can learn that if we came through the worst of all slaveries, that today you can live and be someone and be the best that you can be in a world like we live in today," Kennedy said.

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