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Willie Lee Gay - H-Town Chapter


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Willie Lee Gay

Willie Lee Gay was born to William and Lonnie Washington in Cameron, Texas. Mrs. Gay education began in the local schools in Brownwood, Texas. Thereafter, she enrolled Texas Southern University in 1955. While completing both a Bachelor of Arts in History and Master of Arts in English, Gay obtained a teaching fellowship at TSU upon graduation in 1959.

Mrs. Gay dedicated her life educating mankind in the Houston Independent School District as a fourth grade teacher at Reynolds Elementary School. Eventually, she moved to teaching seventh grade Texas History at Carter G. Woodson Junior School. In 1971, Gay created and sponsored, Carter G Woodson Junior Historian Club-Chapter 244. She trained her students to explore and document Texas History in the African American communities.

After thirty years of service educating, Willie Lee retired in 1986. Her enthusiasm for preserving history went beyond the school system. Gay became actively involved in myriad of heritage preservation activities, such as, spearheading the establishment of the Rufus F. Hardin Museum, Inc., Reviewer of Texas, Our Texas, and Texas Historical Commission. Gay’s working relationship led to an appointment by the former Gov. Ann Richards, as the first African American to serve as a THC commissioner (1991-1997).

Her former students established the “Willie Lee Gay Permanent Endowment Fund” through the Texas State Historian Association in 1986. She was also honored by having a campus building named for her at the Houston Community College. In 2003, Gay was celebrated for creating the ‘Willie Lee Gay Collection” in the Robert Terry Library at Texas Southern University. Other collections and assemblages of her historical archives, photographs, oral histories and scrapbooks related to African Americans in Houston area is located at the Gregory Lincoln African American Museum and Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

Recently, Willie Lee Gay, was honored by the Afro-Amercian Historical Genealogical Society, dedicated the Chapter of Houston, Texas in her name.



Bettye Nelson-White

On November 10, 1984, Bettye White, was given the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, from Bishop College. Mrs. White, a graduate of Bishop College, completed both a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics Education, in 1949, and a Masters of Art in Home Economics Education and Child Development in 1955. After an Early Childhood Education Study Tour in Europe, White became a veteran at her craft.

White dedicated 35 years of service at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, as Director of the W. R. Banks Child Development Laboratory, an Administrative Secretary for the Board of Regents, and an Assistant Professor of Home Economics. In 1974, White appeared and narrated several segments in the making of a film entitled “Play and Cultural Continuity, Part II: Southern Blacks”. Co-author of a book, Apples on a Stick , a collection of poems and songs from the folklore of black children.

In Addition, White was featured in the Houston Area Association for the Education of Young Children, newsletter as a member who deserved recognition for all the myriad services in the community. February 1978, White was awarded a plaque for outstanding and dedicated service, by HAAEYC. April 1979, Houston Independent School District, awarded her a Certificate of Merit for Outstanding and Dedicated Service for Pre-Employment Child Development.

Mrs. White continues to find time to serve her community and civic responsibilities with Texas Southern University, Houston Independent School District, and St. James Episcopal Church.





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