Stephen F. Austin State University


SFA graduate history students create exhibition on history of African-American leaders in Nacogdoches

June 2, 2016
Nacogdoches leader the late Arthur Weaver is seen holding up one of dozens of newspaper articles and clippings he saved during his decades-long fight advocating for civil rights. Weaver is one of several African-American leaders highlighted in the "Leaders of Courage: Educating, Mobilizing and Preserving the African-American Community of Nacogdoches" exhibition compiled by SFA history graduate students. The exhibition will be on display June 14 through July 8, in the historic E.J. Campbell High School, 499 South Shawnee St.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - An exhibition highlighting the history of African-American leaders in Nacogdoches is the final product for students in a history graduate course within Stephen F. Austin State University's College of Liberal and Applied Arts.

"I taught a graduate-level history course at SFA this spring, and my students and I developed, designed and produced an exhibition titled, 'Leaders of Courage: Educating, Mobilizing and Preserving the African-American Community of Nacogdoches,'" said Dr. Paul Sandul, associate professor in the SFA Department of History. "The title comes from a quote by local civil rights activist Arthur Weaver."

The exhibition will be on display from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 14 through July 8, in the historic E.J. Campbell High School, 499 South Shawnee St. An opening reception is scheduled for the evening of Monday, June 13.

"The focus of the exhibition is to highlight such Nacogdoches heroes and leaders as E.J. Campbell, Arthur Weaver and Birdie Wade and the good work they did toward sustaining the community, especially as they faced the difficulties of racism and violence in a Jim Crow Nacogdoches," Sandul said. "The exhibition highlights this last reality, while underscoring the courage and leadership of these three individuals-for the betterment of the African-American community and, really, for all of us calling Nacogdoches our home today."

Students within Sandul's History 570 Collections Management course spent the entirety of the spring 2016 semester digging through East Texas Research Center archives to create 10 text-based, 40-by-32-inch poster boards. The Leaders of Courage posters will be filled with historical information, dozens of historical photographs, maps and an in-depth timeline.

"This graduate course and project introduced students to the essential knowledge, skills and abilities required to conduct the management of archival and museum collections with a specific focus on serving and reaching a public audience," said Sandul. "In fact, each of these students aspires for a public history career in one of these fields and is the very reason each has enrolled at SFA.

"While the students read essays, extended monographs and technical briefs to familiarize themselves with the processes and practices of archival and museum collections, they had a heavy 'hands-on' emphasis to provide them with real-world experiences. Functioning as a member of a team, the students thus created an exhibition highlighting collections at the local East Texas Research Center archive. The Leaders of Courage exhibition is the product of that hands-on experience," Sandul said.

QR codes, or bar codes with the capability to be scanned by smartphones, also were developed by students for the exhibition. When scanned, the codes link to Internet sites with recorded oral histories and other additional historical information pertinent to the Leaders of Courage project.

For more information, email Sandul at

By University Marketing Communications
University Marketing Communications
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