By Shelley McKinley

There are currently at least seven school districts being led by superintendents of African American decent in the Greater Houston area: Aldine, Channelview, Crosby, Fort Bend, Houston, Lamar Consolidated, and Sheldon ISD. There are other African Americans leading the school districts state-wide. Whether they know it or not, they all stand on the shoulders of Ned .E. (N.E.) Williams and his son, Elzie R. (E.R.) Williams. James N.E. Williams, the son of E.R. and the grandson of N.E., along with his daughters have worked to document their history so that both men
continue to inspire future generations.

N.E. Williams, who was born a slave on September 4, 1864, to Ms. Partha Williams. Being a slave, his father was unknown. His mother had three other children; Jake, Della and Ludie. The family moved to Kansas for a short while but returned to Texas, stopping at a farm in the Elderville, Gregg County. They worked on the farm for a while and decided to stay in the area instead
of returning to Shelby County. During this time N.E. Williams kept studying the books he acquired along the way after he finished his chores.


Despite being selftaught he attended Bishop College in Marshall, Texas and Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. While at Tuskegee Institute he studied under Drs. Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver.“He was self-taught and learned subjects like Greek and Latin and taught courses there. Somewhere along the lines he met Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of what we called at that time Negro history. I can remember as a student that we used to have Negro History Week, and there was a course in Negro History which was normally taught by my grandfather,” recalled James N.E. Williams.


N.E. Williams started his teaching career at a small school in Fredonia in 1883 about 8 miles south of Longview, Texas. He taught there until 1889 when he was called home to the community of Greenville (about 8 miles southeast of Longview) to assist in setting up and running a school that would later bear his name. The school, which was part of the Rosenwald School Project, operated under the following names: Greenville School, Greenville High School, and Gregg County Training School. The Rosenwald project was led by Dr. Booker T. Washington, and
funded by part-owner and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company Julius Rosenwald.

Dr. Carver made his first visit to Longview in 1915, and again in 1927 when he stayed in the home of Professor Ned E. Williams for about a week to visit the school and community. Another
visit was scheduled by Dr. Carver in 1943, but he became too ill to travel. Dr. Carver passed away a few months later. With over 60 years in the field of education, Professor Ned E. Williams
passed away on November 27, 1945, leaving the world in much better shape than he found it.Sometime before 1947, E.R. Williams became the principal and changed the name of the school to the Ned E. Williams High School. The school continued in operation for 86 years producing thousands of graduates who have served the community and the nation as teachers, preachers,
lawyers, chemists, business leaders, administrators and leaders in the armed forces.

E.R. Williams became the first African American to serve as superintendent in Texas in the former Elderville Community School District. A brick building was constructed in 1964, and the original Ned E. Williams School operated until 1969, when it consolidated with Longview ISD as the district integrated its schools. Rosenwald schools became obsolete following the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared school segregation unconstitutional. When the Longview ISD board of trustees called for a bond election in May 2008 that would finance construction and renovation of facilities across the district, the Trustees decided to build a campus south of Interstate 20 to meet the needs of students in the area. LISD Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox said naming the campus after Williams was a natural choice.

“Professor Ned E. Williams was truly a man ahead of his time, who left a legacy in our community that continues to this day,” Wilcox said. “Ned E. Williams established a school to give students who did not have the opportunity to learn a chance to get an education. It is a tradition that our entire district takes sacred.”The Ned E. Williams Elementary School, located at 5230 Estes Parkway Longview, TX opened in September 2010, with a host of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren on hand for the ribbon cutting and Opening Ceremony. Dr. Dorcas Dunlap, a third-generation descendant of Ned E. Williams, is the administrator of the elementary school. The school will also be home to the Ned E. Williams Education Museum. The museum will feature N.E. Williams’ educational journey, and also highlight other Rosenwald Project schools in the area.

Writing in his book “History of My Life” dated December 11, 1928, Ned E. Williams stated: “I am indebted to the best Negroes and Whites of this country for my success if I have made any at all. I do know one thing I have spared no time in trying to make myself an honest citizen and all that come in my way to instruct. So this is about the career of my life. My only regret is I wish I
had another to spend.”James N.E. Williams can be seen and heard sharing a detailed oral history in the ‘Ned E. Williams Project’ on YouTube.

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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.

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