The observance of Black History Month came to an end, I found it strange that our African-American heroes and heroines were to my knowledge, not mentioned. I feel that Professor Pickney S. Simms deserves our acknowledgment. Professor Simms was the first black principal who became the Superintendent of the La Marque Colored Schools. Among other things, he was instrumental in naming Lincoln High School. Even before Professor Simms was named principal or superintendent, there were dedicated men and women that willingly chose to educate our African-American community children.
African-American land owners donated land on which places of education were built. Superintendent Simms was a man of high moral character. My mother, who was one of his students, would say that Professor Simms was not a man to whom one could lie. He did not tolerate lies. I wonder what he would say if he could hear the flamboyant falsehoods that our president espouses. Professor Sims would advocate that everyone should subscribe to community newspapers. The media is a friend, not an enemy.
Those hard working men who sacrificed their time to organize and lead Boy Scout Troops and Little League Teams were also mentionable heroes. Because of the high quality educators of Woodland, Lincoln High School became an educational robust high school. When the La Marque Independent School District was founded, Lincoln High School played a pivotal role in its accomplishments. In the days of segregation, the graduates of Lincoln High School were able to make major contributions on the state and national levels.
Other African-American local notables include a long list of medical and educational doctorates, lawyers, professional athletes, military servers and retirees, county commissioners; men and women, constables, justices of the peace, and first respondents of every category, school superintendent, and district school board trustees. Everyone served, and still serve with much dignity, respect, professionalism and intestinal fortitude in the face of adversarial discord from naysayers, daily.
The former board president of the La Marque ISD has filed to run for the Texas City ISD school board. Already, the negativity has begun. To set the record straight, Nakisha Paul owns a bachelor’s degree of health care administration, a Master of Business Administration, and she is a Master Trustee, which is the highest designation from Texas Association of School Boards for any school board member. Also, the former vice president of the La Marque board of trustees owns a Bachelor of Arts/Sociology, a Master of Social Work, and a Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Another former La Marque school board president, Annie Burton, also owns four degrees, post high school.
All of the women named above are African-Americans who took advantage of opportunities, pre- and post-segregation. One man that stands out at this time is Chief Robert Burby, the first African-American police chief for the city of Texas City. Chief Burby, with the partnership of Mayor Matt Doyle, forged a relationship between the West End community and the Texas City Police Department.