TYLER, Texas (KETK) – East Texans are recognizing the strong vibrant Black culture with music, singing and sharing stories of the past to influence the younger generation for the future. February is a time to honor African Americans by raising awareness of Black history in our country. In Tyler, Bell Elementary second graders put on a presentation dedicated to Black musicians.

“All of our song selections were written by African American songwriters and we’ve got everything from Bill Withers, Motown Riders to Sam Cook,” said Bell Elementary Music teacher, Lindsay Boone.

Students got to play the piano, ukulele and sing songs, all while learning about Black songwriters. Many of which were instrumental to today’s sound of American music and influencing genres like jazz and hip-hop.

“Soul is my favorite genre of music, so we listen to a ton of music by Black musicians already and my classroom is surrounded by faces and musicians of all colors,” said Boone.

At Liberty Hall, The City of Tyler recognized “The Cut” which is a well-known Black historic neighborhood, and recognized the great things its people have done in East Texas.

“We are talking about a former Black business district called ‘The Cut’ in North Tyler where I grew up. I had a chance to experience the waning years of it and it was a very booming area,” said East Texas Historian, Larry Wade.

This is growth that city leaders like Tyler Council-woman for District 3, Dr. Shirley McKellar are working hard to accomplish. 

“Black Heritage month is actually Black Heritage 365 days per year. So, I want to see more growth and I want to see that economy that I saw as a youngster growing up. I want to see that come back to Tyler. We have lots of land that is just sitting there undeveloped,” said Dr. McKellar.

Celebrating with remembrance and gratitude for Black heroes that have already influenced so many here at home and across our nation.

To learn more about Black history, The Texas African American Museum is full of art and historical preservation. The new building is located off of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard with free admission on the weekends.