Mary Allen Museum

CROCKETT – The Mary Allen Museum of African-American Art and History Board of Directors will be hosting its 2ndAnnual Mary Allen Founders Day Celebration on February 16 at Good Shepherd Fellowship Church located at 401 South 7thSt., Crockett 75835, starting at 1:00p.m. This year the community will meet and continue to raise the standard as previous museum presidents will be honored and the torch will be passed to the new Museum President, Dr. Thelma J. Douglass.

Dr. Thelma Douglass

Dr. Thelma Douglass is a Fulbright Scholar.  She served as the first Woman Vice President and first African-American Vice President of Student Affairs at Sam Houston State University; former Dean of Students at the University of Houston-Central campus; former Director of Student Housing at the University of Houston-Central Campus; Faculty Lecturer at University of Houston, Sam Houston State University and Vanderbilt University; taught at Crockett High School and is a Crockett High School Class of 1970 Alumna.

The Guest Speaker will be Reverend Henry Lovelady, Mr. Jim Tom Aimsworth will be speaking from the Presbyterian Perspective and African-American News & Issues’ Living Legend, Mrs. Johnnie Mae Brooks-Dale Thompson (93-year-old Mary Allen College Alumna, 1945) will also be speaking. Renown educator, Mrs. Roberta Mason will serve as the Mistress of Ceremony.

The 2ndAnnual Mary Allen Founders Day sponsors are: Moosehead Café owner, Mayor Joni Clonts, the Chuckwagon Café owner, Mrs. Regina Tillis and Pastor Leon Wallace of Good Shepherd Fellowship Church, Crockett.

For more information or details about the service call (936) 213-0363 or email

Mary Allen College History

The Mary Allen Seminary, a boarding school for African-American girls was founded as the Crockett Presbyterian Church Colored Sabbath School (1871-1875) and then became the Moffatt Parochial School.  Reverend Samuel Fisher Tenney was active in the establishment of both schools.

In 1886 the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church begin planning for he establishment of a Black girls’ school in Texas.  Rev. Tenney saw an advertisement referring to the project and immediately responded. The secretary to the Board of Missions for Freedmen, Rev. Richard Allen, was soon invited to Crockett.  Prominent businessmen joined Rev. Tenney in receiving him.

After a statewide survey, Crockett was chosen as the school’s location-partly because of the country’s large African-American population and because of the Black parochial school that Rev. Tenney had previously founded.  The community offered a grant of ten acres on a hilltop plot north of the city.  Rev. Allen’s wife, Mary Esther, actively promoted the Texas boarding school for Colored girls and took on a key organizational fundraising role through the Women’s Executive Committee of the Board of Missions for Freedmen.  When she died suddenly, the board agreed the official name of the school should be Mary Allen Seminary.


Mrs. Mary Esther Thompson Allen
Mary Allen College received its name from the wife of Richard H. Allen.

Rev. J.B. Smith, a White man was commissioned to take charge of the new seminary, which opened on January 15, 1886.  Mary Allen Hall, a four-story brick structure with basement, was completed on October 1, 1887.  The school began as a day and boarding school offering courses at the primary, elementary, high school and teacher-training levels for girls only. Two years after opening, the school had an official June dedication.

Though only two years old, the seminary enrolled 152 pupils, 102 of whom were boarders.  Those who had the opportunity to see its function were impressed with the religious influence pervading the seminary.  On each morning the whole school was divided into four Bible classes, and an hour spent in close and systemic study of the Bible.

On every Sabbath morning from 9 to 10 o’clock the “Shorter Catechism” was studied. The dedicatory services took place on the afternoon of June 19. The chapel was too small to accommodate all who were expected to attend, and so an arbor was erected adjoining the chapel, under which 800 or 1000 colored people were seated by 3 o’clock in the afternoon. On the platform were assembled a number of the best White citizens of the place, who expressed a deep interest in the school’s work.

The exercises were commenced by a hymn sung by the girls, and beautifully sung it was. Rev. J. B. Smith, president of the seminary, then gave a short history of the school—its beginning two years ago last January with one scholar in an old hotel in the village, its rapid growth, the hard work they had in the old hotel, crowded with girls and no conveniences for their comfort, then of the gratitude they felt to the Christian women and Sabbath-schools of the North, when they were permitted to enter their new building. Then followed a solemn and touching prayer of dedication by Rev. Mr. Tenney, the pastor of the Southern Presbyterian Church, at Crockett, a warm friend of the seminary and of our work among the freedmen. A beautiful hymn of dedication was then sung by the girls, led by Miss Buttes, the teacher of music, and we wish all the women in our church could have heard that singing. We were then permitted to address the people, which we did with much pleasure and in the best manner of which we were capable, and were followed by an address from Colonel Nunn, a prominent lawyer of the town and once an officer in the Confederate army. The closing address was made by Rev. Mr. Tenney, and made a good impression on the audience, as we felt that every word came from a warm Christian heart. A chorus sung by the girl as only colored girls can sing, closed the afternoon service.

There was another dedication of the seminary previous to this of a unique but very touching character. Before the building was entirely finished a number of the girls asked permission of President Smith to go into one of the rooms and hold a little prayer-meeting. Permission being given, they went in and spent an hour in singing their weird plantation hymns and in prayer and thanksgiving to God, thanking him for their friends in the North who had built this house for them, and praying for his blessing on it When we heard this we felt there was no other dedication needed : these poor girls in the gratitude of their hearts had been before us, and we are sure that God had heard their prayers and accepted their humble thanksgivings; for,

“Richer by far was their hearts’ adoration, and dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.”

The day’s exercises were closed with an entertainment given by the girls in the evening at the chapel, consisting of essays, declarations, dialogues and singing. Some of the essays read would have done credit to the girls of any seminary in the land. Among the songs were a number of their plantation hymns, which were very beautiful and sung most impressively.

The house dedicated is only the main building; the wing in the original plan has not yet been built but is very much needed. Many pupils, the president informed us, will have to be turned away next term. Oh, that God would inspire the heart of some Christian lady or ladies to build this needed addition to the seminary!We congratulate the women and the Sabbath-school scholars of our church, and the individual friends of our work, on the founding of this seminary for the daughters of the poor colored people of the South. The good which it has accomplished and will accomplish cannot be estimated. It is a light in a dark land among a benighted people. The influence of it will be felt not only in time but in eternity.


Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top