Grand opening draws many to the Callandret Black History Museum

Special to the NEWS

Historic Moment – Pictured is a view of the inside of the museum, with a classroom emulating its appearance as a segregated school in the 1950s. (Photo by Alan Ramirez)

Locals occupied the front steps Saturday morning to celebrate the grand opening of the Joe Callandret Black History Museum located on the corner of Stenger and Doherty Street.

The Museum is named after Joe Callandret, a Louisiana native, who relocated to San Benito in the early 1900s. Furthermore, it was his wife, Fannie Callandret, who donated the land to the San Benito school district back in 1948.

San Benito CISD then managed the donated land and built a two-room schoolhouse to provide education for African-American children during the segregation era.

“This is important because of the large number of families that we used to have here. Twenty-four to twenty-five black families have dwindled to two or three. Before they leave this earth, we want to preserve their contribution to San Benito,” said Sandra Tumberlinson, Treasurer of the San Benito Historical Society.

Tumberlinson hopes the Museum will educate the youth on segregation.

“That’s why it’s important to study segregation, so things like this don’t happen again. We need to keep educating children and our youth,” she explained.

Nevertheless, the Museum has been a two-year-long development that now hopes to recreate the history that took place in the school alongside archiving any information related to the Callandret family tree.

The building is filled with antique desks used by children during those times and hosts many other items on display. The Museum plans to feature programs focusing on local African-American history and hopes to educate the public on the original intent of the school.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the March 6 –12, 2020 issue of the NEWS.

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.