1. Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Ceremony held March 31, 2010.
In 1908, the Reverend Ed King and Reverend Perry Ware called a group of dedicated persons to organize a church and the King’s Church was born. The congregation gathered under the trees in the open air and grew steadily from 1908 to 1930 when the first wooden building was erected. The church name was then changed to Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The original building was demolished and the present structure was built in 1933. In 1991, the congregation bricked the outside of the church. The original bell that was used to call the congregation together still works.
The Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church has made countless contributions to east Tyler and remains a vibrant, growing congregation.
2. Henry M. Morgan, Ceremony held July 26, 2010.
Henry M. Morgan was born in Smith County, Texas. Mr. Morgan furthered his education at East Texas Academy, later named Butler College. He received a LLB degree from Summerville Law College, Dallas, Texas, and also studied at Wiley College.
Mr. Morgan was actively and politically involved in various organizations including organizing the H. M. Morgan Lodge, serving as Exalted Ruler; President of the Tyler Chapter of the NAACP; Vice President of the 1936 Tyler Negro Chamber of Commerce, and elected chairman of East Texas District at the State Republican Convention, San Antonio, Texas.
Mr. Morgan worked at Star Barber Shop as a barber and an entrepreneur in dry cleaning, construction and radio repair.
He was a member of St. Louis Baptist Church, trustee of Butler College, President of National and Texas Association of Tonsorial Artists, President of Tyler Democratic Progressive Voters League, and Vice-President of Texas Association of Barber Schools.
3. Texas College, Ceremony held October 20, 2010.
Texas College was founded in 1894 by a group of Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) ministers who believed that education is necessary for all mankind. Established as a historically black college, Texas College is a residential, coeducational, four-year liberal arts institution awarding baccalaureate and the Associate of Arts degree. Its mission is to ensure that graduates experience a balanced intellectual, psycho-social, and spiritual development aimed at making them active and productive members of society. The College instills academic excellence; encourages integrity; implants perseverance; promotes social responsibility; emphasizes tolerance; and encourages community service by its students as essential anchors in fulfilling its mission in an ever-changing world.
4. Butler College, Ceremony held April 26, 2011
Reverend Cornelius M. Butler, born in Alabama before the turn of the century, was freed from slavery at the age of 17. He was later taught to read and write by his wife. His strong desire to learn drove him to create educational opportunities for many other blacks.
In 1905, Reverend Butler led the East Baptist Association to establish an institution of learning called the East Texas Baptist Academy, where he served as the first principal. In 1924, the Academy was renamed Butler College in honor of Reverend Butler. It achieved accreditation in 1949. In 1971, Butler College closed its doors after sparking success for many of its students throughout the nation.
In 1992, The East Texas District Baptist Association, under the leadership of Reverend D. C. Brown, serving as Moderator, erected the Heritage Building so that the legacy of Butler College could continue by providing the opportunity for Christian education and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ without regard to race, creed, color or national origin.
5. Doc Young, Ceremony held April 26, 2011
Mr. Noble Earnest “Doc” Young opened the first African American drugstore in Tyler in 1946. He provided job opportunities for African Americans of all ages to work in his store as clerks and delivery personnel for newspapers, magazines and African American publications from 1946 to 1984.
“Doc” Young furnished class rings, caps and gowns and senior memorabilia to Emmett J. Scott High School students whose families could not afford them. He also provided free medicine to families who could not pay, as well as interest-free loans to families who needed help. He did his best to give back to his community, help others in need, and see that African Americans in his community were given a fair and equal opportunity academically, socially and spiritually.
The “Drug Store,” as it was more commonly called, offered a safe and wholesome gathering place for the community and was the center of a three-block thriving business area in North Tyler called “The Cut.”
As a member of the St. Louis Baptist Church, “Doc” served on the trustee board. He was a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
“Doc” Young’s godson, Judge Quincy Beavers, Jr., was elected the first African American Justice of the Peace in Smith County, Texas.
6. Katie Albert Stewart, Ceremony held May 4, 2011
Katie A. Stewart, the only child of the Reverend Dr. Albert Thomas and Garthelia Willeta Harris Stewart, learned from her parents the value of an education, and the everlasting impact of one’s contribution to the community. Her life was an example of true dedication of commitment to the teaching and training of children, youth and young adults, both in the educational systems and in organized church work. All through her life she gave credit to her parents for this example. It is for this strategic modeling that Stewart Middle School in the Tyler Independent School District bears her father’s name.
Katie A. Stewart’s education opened the doors of opportunity for her to teach and train children at T.J. Austin Elementary School and Emmett Scott High School.
Her church and community affiliations also received the benefit of her gifts and talents. These include the East Texas Chapter of the Links, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the Utopia Civic and Art Club, and her church home, True Vine Baptist Church. Her deepest and closest friend, Helen Brewer and Helen’s family, continues to be her family today.
7. Emmett J. Scott High School, Ceremony held June 30, 2012
The original high school in Tyler for African Americans was established in 1888 in the old West End School building on South Herndon Avenue. It was a four-room structure that housed grades one through ten. The building burned in 1921, which caused school sessions to be held in churches within the city.
A new building was erected in 1923. The location was changed to North Border Avenue since neighbors protested rebuilding the school on South Herndon. The new school building was renamed Emmett Scott Junior High and was used for both elementary and high school grades. When W. A. Peete and T. J. Austin elementary schools were built, the small building formerly used for elementary grades became the Emmett Scott homemaking department.
In 1949, what began as a four-room school with a graduating class of four students became Emmett J. Scott High School on West Lincoln Street (now M. L. King Jr. Boulevard). The school included 26 classrooms, an administrative suite, library, cafeteria, shop, auditorium, gymnasium and band hall.
Emmett J. Scott High School closed in June 1970, through an integration order affecting all Texas public schools.
8. Alfred Gilliam, Ceremony held May 7, 2014
In 1943, as a civilian, Alfred Gilliam was actively involved with the Camp Fannin U. S. Army Infantry Replacement Training Center’s Special Services Department where he performed as a singer, dancer and stage director for several productions. One production, “Texas Yanks,” premiered at Camp Fannin and was later performed in Gladewater, Longview, Greenville, Mount Pleasant, Marshall and Palestine as part of the effort to sell war bonds.
Gilliam enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945. At the end of the war, he was transferred to the separation center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. After his discharge in 1946, he performed plays at the San Antonio Little Theatre.
In 1949, he returned to Tyler and directed the Circle Theatre at Tyler Junior College; staging productions with audiences seated on all four sides. The shows proved so popular that a group of Tyler citizens rallied to revive its own city theatre. In 1949 Tyler Civic Theatre was born and Gilliam was named its first resident director. Two years later the group opened the nation's first theater built specifically for in-the-round presentations. Currently, the theatre holds the record for being the longest continually operated Theatre-in-the-Round in the nation.
Gilliam’s dedication to the performing arts included being choreographer for the TJC Apache Belles and Texas Rose Festival, as well as serving as the managing director of Tyler Civic Theatre from 1951 until his death in 1988.
9. Smith County Courthouse of 1910, Ceremony held March 26, 2015
Tyler, Texas has had seven courthouses and each of these county seats has been authentic architectural expressions of their generations. The most grandiose and well-built of them was the four-story sixth Smith County Courthouse which incorporated the eclectic styles of Beaux Arts and Neo-Classicism.
Specially selected Elgin brick was used in construction which heightened the textural effect of the façade and was used to form pilasters along the sides of the building. There were projecting facades on all four sides crowned by highly decorated pediments and sustained by colossal Greek decorated columns. The roof, covered with red terra cotta tile, was surrounded with a pronounced cornice providing a unifying classical element to the entire structure.
The center of the roof was crowned with a polygonal dome, which all four sides held a clock six feet in diameter. Atop the dome stood the Goddess of Justice, an eleven-foot copper figure, which is now stored in the Smith County Historical Museum.
The whole square surrounding the courthouse was a very intricately landscaped garden accented with decorative lamps, benches and birdbaths.