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WilCo Museum

Today Kate, Lori, and I visited the Williamson Country Museum on the square. I was actually surprised by what I found there. Despite the museum’s small size, they had a lot more on historic black experience in Williamson County than I had expected. The very helpful woman working at the museum was especially beneficial to our visit. When Kate noticed that some of the large paintings in the museum featured African Americans or African American issues prominently, the docent provided some interesting information that got us started on a good note. She told us the story behind the most outrageous painting there: it shows the district attorney in 1923 in front of a crowd of people in KKK robes who appear to be on fire in a courtroom. She explained that this portrayed DA Dan Moody’s victory over the local KKK in our own courthouse on the square. The other significant thing we learned had to do with the painting that, in some kind of brief nod to segregation, depicted a black doctor with black patients. This man is Dr. James Lee Dickey- the first black doctor in Taylor. The docent also directed us to a book in the gift shop that tells the life story of Bill Pickett, the man from Williamson County who created bulldogging (steer wrestling). For more information about the three historic black figures that were prominent enough to make their way into the museum check out these links:

http://www.statesman.com/news/williamson/williamson-county-museum-exhibit-shows-details-of-1923-216687.html

http://impactnews.com/georgetown-hutto-taylor/121-history/10814-history

http://www.texasescapes.com/ClayCoppedge/Bill-Pickett-and-Bulldogging.htm

Strangely enough, I was somewhat concerned that the Williamson County Museum, as small as it is, had a decent amount of information on historic black experiences; why had I assumed it would not? There are several very interesting stories connected to these figures yet the community as a whole remains mainly ignorant to historic black experience. Though it’s great the the museum offers information, this is information which must actively be sought out. It is not incorporated into our community and does not serve as an integrated every day reminder of Georgetown’s multicultural, and at times controversial, past. Is this kind of memorial good enough then? What would the ideal memorial look like and how would it serve the community? Visiting the museum reminded me that I have a lot of questions that I may not be able to answer even after completing research.

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