Blackwell School National Historic Site
The Blackwell School operated in Marfa, Texas, as a segregated school for children of Mexican descent from 1909 until Marfa schools were integrated in 1965. Yet this is much more than just a local story, or a Hispanic story, or even a Texas story: this is a truly American story.
The original historic school building, and grounds on which it stands, provide an authentic setting to commemorate and interpret a time when “separate but equal” dominated our culture in ways currently unknown, and essential to understanding the American experience.
The Blackwell School Alliance has been working 14 years to preserve the stories, legacy, and buildings associated with the Blackwell School. We have partnered with many universities, state agencies, private foundations, individuals, and the City of Marfa to document and promote this important piece of Marfa history.
We have discovered, though, that this is much more than just a local story or a Hispanic story or even a Texas story: this is a truly American story. And as such, the Blackwell School has the opportunity—and the responsibility—to reach a broader audience. We have both a keen interest from our immediate family of former students and the support of partners far and wide to ensure that the Blackwell School will live on in perpetuity.
Now we have a chance to take the next step with the support of Congressman Will Hurd. Congressman Hurd proposed legislation this year to designate the Blackwell School a National Historic Site. This begins the process of turning the Blackwell School over to the National Park Service, while continuing to serve our community.
In addition to supporting important American history, the designation also brings economic benefits. Research shows that every dollar spent managing national parks and public lands generates $4 in economic value. This includes job creation, tourism income, and goods and services. Consider the impact that Fort Davis National Historic Site brings to the neighboring community of Fort Davis. In 2019, 51,000 people visited Fort Davis National Historic Site. Marfa will benefit from a new and sustainable kind of tourism.
Newspapers and on-line news sources have been writing about this legislation. See what the excitement is all about:
(reprints: San Antonio Express-News,
Laredo Morning Times)
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
We asked you to send postcards and letters showing your support for the creation of the Blackwell School National Historic Site. You came through! with hundreds of pieces of mail. Thank you.