TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Texas African American Museum hosted an event to honor Black East Texans who have made a difference in the United States.

History organizers said we need to know our past in order to know what the future holds.

“I’m going to be honest with you,” Gloria Washington, the Executive Director at the Texas African American Museum said. “There’s no way that I could endure what my ancestors endured so I want to be in a spot where I’m not going to let history repeat itself.”

Glenda Howard an attendant of the event said that you have to know where you came from to know where you’re headed.

“We stand on the shoulders of so many different people, no matter who you are we stand on somebody’s shoulders, somebody paved the way for you and we need to know that,” said Donnie Howard another event attendee.

Pastor Larry Wade who founded the Smith County African American Historical Society was honored for paving the way.

“I’m the second of three generations of teachers,” Wade said.

As well as Pastor Rodney Atkins, Wade was the very first black librarian at the Tyler Public Library and he also founded the African American Museum at Jarvis Christian College.

“My mother celebrated her 91st birthday on the 20th and that’s the first thing she asked me she said you still doing black history,” said Atkins.

There were several other East Texans honored.

Pastor H. Calvin Austin who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. closed the ceremony out with a motivational sermon.

“I believe somebody said Lord send us from the back of the bus to drive the bus. Idk about you but I believe somebody said Lord send us to be judges lawyers doctor,” said Austin.