ICAN kicks off fundraiser for Future Black Museum

POSTED: 7:19 PM Feb 16 2013
ABILENE, TX -

History is being resurrected in Abilene.

Members of the Interested Citizens of Abilene North or ICAN kicked off a fundraiser to create a Black Museum in the Big Country.

The event was held at Frontier Texas. Pastors and community members came together to support the mission of the "Curtis House Cultural Museum," in honor of the first black funeral owner in Abilene, Willie A. Curtis of Curtis-Starks Funeral Home, and African American history.

The new museum would be housed in the old Curtis home on 630 Washington Street in Abilene.

Willie Curtis' best friend said this recognition is well deserved.

"The Curtis Family both Willie, her brother Benny and her mother were community leaders, but above all they were some of the finest Christian people I have ever known," said Retired Abilene ISD teacher Betsy Bryant.

Ms. Bryant is not alone. The Executive Director of Frontier Texas is proud to partner with ICAN. They donated special panels to hang for display in the new museum.

"Abilene is one of those places that cares a lot about its history," said ICAN Vice President Odis Dolton. "There's a piece of history that needs to be told and that's the history of African Americans in the city of Abilene and in West Texas."

ICAN Historian Rev. Andrew L. Penns said, "There were business owners, educators, there were professional people, and general people all together who took the initiative to shape and mold our community to be a great community."

The group's goal is to preserve and remind people about the importance of this segment of history.

"It will mean so much to us to those who came before us but especially to those who come after to our children," said Bryant.

Dolton said they need to raise $100,000, which would include matched donations to begin the work on the facility.