Old Central Cultural Center, Inc. Historical Perspective

Old Central Cultural Center, Inc. was established in 1974 in order to preserve the legacy of the first African/American high school in the State of Texas, which had been established in 1885. In 1893, Galveston’s most famous architect, Nicholas Clayton, designed a two-story brick building for the purpose of …”providing higher educational opportunities for Colored in a free public school in the city of Galveston, Texas.” In 1904, an annex to Central High School was built “…on a motion from Mr. Lovenberg, permission was granted to the Rosenberg Library Association to build an annex to the Central High School for a library for the colored people of Galveston…” Literally thousands of black Galvestonians graduated from Central High School before it was closed as the Galveston public schools were integrated in 1968. By the time the high school closed, it was located at its fourth site; a building currently used as the Galveston Independent School District middle school. However, as the late Dr. Leon Morgan wrote, “The city of Galveston and the black community look upon the third campus and its retained buildings as symbolic of the years when education for blacks was becoming recognized as a very important asset to the city. The site and building are rich in unique history and tradition.”

The moving force behind the continued preservation and operation of the Old Central High School property at 2627 Avenue M is to ensure that this site which represents the first public high school and library for blacks in the State of Texas is properly maintained and financially stable in order to serve as a community center and to provide programs within the Galveston community.

Original Mission Statement of Old Central Cultural Center

The original mission of Old Central Cultural Center, Inc. was to provide cultural enrichment to residents of Galveston County and Texas, to supplement learning experience through various art media, to develop a sense of awareness and identification, to preserve artifacts of black culture, to develop resources to improve the quality of life for culturally disadvantaged and motivate learning.

Old Central Cultural Center Historical Highlights:

  • On October 23, 1973, the “Old Central” organization received its Certificate of Incorporation from the Office of Secretary of State.

  • On March 11, 1974, Old Central Cultural Center received its 501c3 Nonprofit Tax Exempt Status by the Internal Revenue Service.

  • Dr. L.A. Morgan, retired GISD school official was the first executive director of Old Central Cultural Center.

  • Mr. Robert Hoskins, local attorney, was the first board president.

  • Mr. Peter Brink, Galveston Historical Foundation Executive Director served on the original Board of Directors.

  • The financial impetus to the “Old Central” movement started with a $75,000 grant allocation from the Moody Foundation.

  • The Moody Foundation grant was given to the City of Galveston to which $20,000 was used to purchase the Old Central School property at 2627 Avenue M from the Galveston Independent School District and the balance was used to hire an architect and begin restoration efforts.

  • The City of Galveston through the federal government grant program (HUD Community Development Block Grant) provided $137,708 for the initial restoration work in the late 1970s. Then in the mid-eighties provided an additional $125,000 in CDBG grant funds for building repairs.

  • Galveston Architects Louis Oliver and Tibor Beerman served as the restoration project architects.

  • It took a community effort to get this project done in the early 1970s. The first Old Central board of directors were a classic example of the outstanding positive leadership from many ethnic groups which consisted of people like:

Mr. Robert Hoskins, President
Mrs. Lucile Alexander
Mr. Bert Armstead
Mrs. Helen Ayachi
Mrs. V.J. Beninati
Mrs. Rose Bennett
Mr. Peter Brink
Mr. John H. Clouser
Mr. Thomas H. Dent
Mrs. Vera Dever
Mrs. Gloria Ellisor
Mrs. Rose Forcey
Mrs. Reita Fugger
Mr. William Harris

Dr. L.A. Morgan, Executive Director
Mrs. Gloria Haywood
Mr. Theasel Henderson
Mr. Gerald Hoskins
Mr. Lucius Humphrey
Mrs. Howard Krantz
Ms. Eula Lyles
Mrs. Robert McClintock
Mr. A.W. McDonald
Rev. R.E. McKeen
Mrs. Lucy Ramirez
Ms. June Ross
Rev. James Thomas
Mrs. Susan L. Walsh

Major Activities of
Old Central Cultural Center

Provide High School Students with College Scholarships

Old Central Cultural Center facilities rental
Civic organizations meetings and functions
Wedding Receptions
Funeral Repast

Martin Luther King Celebrations in January
Student Essay Contest in January
Martin Luther King Parade

Celebrate February Black History Month

Juneteenth Celebration Activities
Banquet at Old Central Center
Emancipation Prayer Vigil & Breakfast at Ashton Villa
June 19th at Jack Johnson Park

Central High School Gathering Activities
Class Reunion Activities

Annual preservation work on the Old Central historic building

Old Central Cultural Center Membership
Annual Membership Drive
Annual Meeting of Members
Save Old Central Campaign
Old Central T-Shirts Program
Quarterly Newsletter
Old Central Website

Old Central Cultural Center, 2627 Avenue M, Galveston, Texas
Copyright Old Central Cultural Center, Inc.