History Visits Johnny Allen

by Angela Allen | North Amarillo Now
photos by Angela Allen | North Amarillo Now

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Students at Johnny N. Allen School had the opportunity to learn first hand about the first Black female Buffalo soldier. Rosieleetta Reed a native of Amarillo shared with students the struggles as well as the accomplishments and the courage of Buffalo Soldier Cathay Williams (William Cathay). Williams was an exceptional women who served with the Thirty-eighth U.S. Infantry, she was born a slave and joined the army to maintain financial independance.

Reed, dressed in a full Buffalo Soldier uniform rendered an informative interactive presentation allowing students to take part in the Buffalo Soldier Experience. Reed also shared her experiences as a Black cowgirl and an award winning rodeo rider.

Reed is the President of the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Association.

Also on hand for the program was Judge Morris Overstreet, Pastor Elijah Demerson,  Pastor Elisha Demerson and Della Roger.

Judge Overstreet talked with the students about the importance of getting a higher education.  Overstreet who holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence (Doctorate of Law) brought his Doctorate robe, hood, and cap, explained to the students what the colors and symbols of the robe stood for.  The advice Overstreet gave to the students that he lives by is , ”do unto others as you would have them do unto you and you will find your life much happier.“ Overstreet also quoted his 5th grade teacher Mr. Ellis as saying,  ”learn now yearn later, yearn now learn later.“  Overstreet explains this is the season for you to learn while you are young.  If you learn now and get an education you will be able to afford the things you yearn for later.   You don’t want to get older and find yourself trying to go back to school to get a good job to pay for the things you yearned for when you couldn’t afford them.

Overstreet also told students to look for his name in the history books when they study Texas history.  Judge Overstreet is referenced in the Texas history books for being the first African-American elected to a statewide office in the history of the State of Texas.

Pastor Elijah Demerson and Pastor Elisha Demerson also spoke to the students about the importance of education.  The twin brothers were the first African American twins in more than 150 years to attend West Point.

Elisha Demerson told students to always remember education is important.  “You need to do the very best you can while you are in school and you will always be rewarded.“

Elijah Demerson told students that education will teach you to think. “ You can overcome obstacles in your life to succeed, but you must be focused.  You have access to so much more than we did when we were in school, but you have to dream and think big.  Focus on your convictions and live by them.  There will always be distractors, but you have to focus and want the very best for your life.“

Della Rogers who works with Reed told students that she went to college for a few years then quit. She later went back to school and got her undergraduate degree and a Masters degree.  She told students to never give up on the dream of getting your education.  After she had a family, she decided to go back to school and complete her education, “it’s never to late.“

All of the guest speakers for this program are natives of Amarillo and graduates of Carver High School.  The Principal for Johnny N. Allen school Linda Vaughn is also a Carver High School graduate.

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Black History, North Amarillo Now