The Beard Congregational Church in Erath reached a milestone in 2015 by being added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The sign standing tall in front of the Beard Congregational Church marks over 100 years of history. Over a 25 year time-span, it was a place of hope for several African-American children. Soon, all of that history will be brought back to life.
“Look where you came from. Look at the stock that the foundation that was provided for you. You have no choice, but to excel,” said Dana Comeaux, the great-great-granddaughter of Robert and Francis Dozier, founders of the church.
“Being who they were in the time that they were, they could’ve really had some serious repercussions for having that forward thinking and hiring an educator to start educating children in their home,” Comeaux added.
The Dozier’s provided the only form of prayer and school under one roof for black children.
“It really wasn’t an option. A lot of girls thought about getting married. But, in our home education is where we intended to be,” said Ethel Bernard-Ambrose, Dozier’s great-great-granddaughter.
Education eventually became a gateway for the entire community. A legacy that lives on today.
“We’re teaching every day. We’re teaching our children the importance of where they came from so they can understand the stock of where they are and so they can move forward,’ said Bernard-Ambrose.
Moving forward is the next objective as they reach out for support on transforming it into a museum.
“It takes a lot of funds to restore it and reposition it. The foundation. Make sure we replace the wood, the paneling,” said Dozier’s great-great-granddaughter, Mary Morrison.
They are revamping foundation that dates back to 1912.
“Reliving this legacy and making sure everyone knows about this beautiful story that we’re so proud of,” Morrison added.
A ‘Great Gatsby’ themed gala is scheduled to take place September 22, 2018, to raise funds for the restoration project. Click here, to purchase tickets.