Student’s project highlights SB’s black community

School project
Shown L-R are Ray Howard, Leo Cantu, Ulises Cantu, Sandra Tumberlinson and Beatrice Cantu watching as Leo constructs the project on his computer. (Courtesy photo)

Special to the NEWS

The Callandret Black History Museum of South Texas in San Benito was recently the site of a National Junior Honor Society project for STEM² Preparatory Academy’s seventh grader Leo Cantu of Harlingen.
Cantu’s assignment concentrated on the cultural aspects of a group of people who lived in the area between 1908 and the present: The Black community of San Benito. With his parents, Beatrice and Ulises Cantu in support, Cantu examined the historical exhibits and asked the museum personnel pertinent questions to enhance his work and understand the importance of the community’s contributions to the Valley.
Originally, the Cantus contacted Ray Howard with the African American Heritage Cultural Commission of McAllen who contacted his colleague, Sandra Tumberlinson with the Callandret Black History Museum and set meeting dates. Leo interviewed the two as well as Lonnie Davis, a Harlingen businessman who attended the original colored school as a child before he transferred to Harlingen schools.
One of the purposes of creating the black history museum, Tumberlinson explained to Cantu, was precisely what he was doing… for students and adults to use it as a local resource for projects, period information, black family archives and educational consultants.
Not only is the museum available for individual projects by people of all ages, but school classes are welcome, and the public, in general, is invited. Admission is free. Visit the website, or where A.J. Salazar, curator, will direct all inquiries.
The upcoming Juneteenth Celebration is featured in the museum as well as the story of the pioneer black families who lived in San Benito and Harlingen.
Anyone interested in researching, planning a project or in need of documentation related to cultural, historical or local information is invited to visit the museum whose summer hours are Thursday-Saturday, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or call 956- 245-3998 to book an alternative date. Civic groups and clubs may also reserve the museum’s meeting room.
In the near future, a Texas Historical Marker will be placed on the site and in September, the museum will be featured in a segment of Texas Country Reporter.

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