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On Monday, December 12, 2022, the Houston Public Library celebrated the unveiling of an Official Texas Historical Marker from the Texas Historical Commission for the Gregory School building at the African American History Research Center (AAHRC). The dedication ceremony took place amongst the exhibits inside and culminated outside at the marker's permanent location, at the corner of Wilson and Victor streets in Freedmen's Town/Fourth Ward. 

The event began with opening remarks from Angela Kent, Senior Manager of HPL’s History Research Centers and Miguell Ceasar, AAHRC Manager and Senior Archivist. Local historian and member of the African American Library Gregory Friends (AALGS) Debra Blacklock Sloan gave an official statement on the awarding of the marker. She also thanked the local officials who sent proclamations, like State Representative Jolanda Jones.

HPL Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson gave remarks. “When I became the Director of the Houston Public Library in 2005, implementing Mayor Lee Brown’s vision for the Gregory School, now the African American History Research Center, was at the top on my list of goals,” said Dr. Lawson. “I have had the pleasure of seeing it evolve to become a significant destination in Houston, all while providing a unique window into the local and global Black experience.  Now we have a restored facility with an official State Historical Marker designation thanks in large part to the dedication of the Friends of the Gregory School. We are very thankful for their continuing support and longtime partnership.”   

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner read the text of the marker, after which it was unveiled. 

Mayor Turner said, “We come from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, but we are all here together for a common cause: to recognize the contributions of people and places like Gregory School that are sacred pillars of education and advancement within the African American community.” 

After the ceremony, attendees headed indoors for an open house and tour of the AAHRC facility.

January 19, 2023 – June 3, 2023

Grand Opening Reception Thursday, January 19 6 PM - 8 PM. Event is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged.

The Julia Ideson Gallery
550 McKinney St., 77002 | 832-393-1313

The lives of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Houston are woven intimately into the history of the larger metropolis. Asian Americans first settled in the Bayou City and its vicinity in the early twentieth century, and the community grew substantially after the relaxation of immigration laws in 1965. The archival materials displayed in this exhibit represent a sampling of the richness of AAPI experiences, offering a panoramic view of Houston's AAPI world.

Rice University’s Houston Asian American Archive (HAAA) began in 2010 and it continues to grow as a repository of materials documenting the lives and contributions of immigrants and their descendants from all corners of Asia: from East, to Southeast, to South Asia. Most of these materials consist of oral interviews. Rice student interns conduct and curate these interviews, which are housed in the Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center with the hope that the archive, bearing witness to the role played by Asian Americans, will become the basis for the history of Asian Americans in greater Houston.

This exhibit is in partnership with the Houston Asian American Archive and the Woodson Research Center of Rice University.

More programming in celebration of this exhibit is planned through May 2023. All events are free and open to the public; registration is encouraged.

Chinese Classical Music Concert │Saturday, February 4, 2023 - 2 PM 
HPL x HAAA Present: Dancing Across Asian America! │ Saturday, March 25, 2023 - 11 AM
Exploring the World of Asian American Poets │ Saturday, April 22, 2023 - 11 AM

Ascend AAPI Spring Fashion Show │ Saturday, May 20, 2023 - 2 PM

Welcome to the Big Top! 
The Circus Comes to Town, 1910s-1980s
Julia Ideson Building- Exhibit Hall
January 15, 2022 - June 18, 2022

Circuses have entertained and enthralled American audiences since 1793. By the turn of the 20th century, large circuses like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus traveled the country by rail, boasting mile-long trains that carried death-defying performers, exotic animals, vibrantly painted wagons, and acres of tent canvas. In Houston, like many other towns and cities, circus day was one of the most important days of the year. 

Businesses and schools would close so everyone could watch dozens of elephants parade down Main Street, see the spectacle, and be transported to another world.

This exhibition features posters, costumes, photos, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia from the Heiser-Alban Collection of Circus Historical Materials, all collected by Houstonian Joseph M. Heiser for almost eighty years.

Exhibit is free and open to the public.

Exhibit dates are subject to change.



Field is required.