The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR students visit local sites, learn history

The organ at Allen Chapel was shipped from Galveston in 1923. The train carrying it resides just across the street.   Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian
The organ at Allen Chapel was shipped from Galveston in 1923. The train carrying it resides just across the street.
Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian

By Audrey Werth/tr news editor

For the past three years, TR Campus has allowed students to tour local historic areas important to African-American history.

TR government instructor Jinnell Killingsworth contacted Sarah Walker, president of the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society, to organize the tour.

In its first year, the tour only had one bus. It has since expanded to include two tours with lunch in between to give more students the chance to attend.

“It’s great to see this grow,” Killingsworth said. “I thought it would be fun to do, but I didn’t necessarily know we would continue doing it each year.”

Killingsworth always takes her learning community class on the tour.

“We are trying to teach them the value of community,” she said.

Walker leads the bus tour for TCC and other local groups as well.

“We encourage them to come out of their shells,” she said, “to come out of their neighborhoods and see what is on the other side of the rock.”

This year’s tour on Feb. 13 took students to Allen Chapel, just blocks from campus, and several locations in historic Southside.

“If the kids don’t know where they’ve been,” Walker said, “they won’t know where they are going.”

Killingsworth and Walker said the goal for next year is to expand the tour into other neighborhoods.

The blacksmith anvil outside Allen Chapel is the symbol of the African Methodist Episcopal church.  Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian
The blacksmith anvil outside Allen Chapel is the symbol of the African Methodist Episcopal church.
Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian

“This is our first time going to Allen,” Walker said. “They welcomed us with open arms.”

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was first organized in Fort Worth in 1870. At first, services were held irregularly in members’ homes.

Construction was finished on Allen Chapel in 1914. Most of the original materials remain.

Allen is one of five historic churches in the area that still has its original stained glass windows, Walker said.

“You’ll never find another one in Fort Worth like it, and basically, all we can do is try to preserve it,” the Rev. Sherryl Matlock said.

Matlock gave students a tour around the church.

She said the Estey pipe organ in the sanctuary was shipped from Galveston and installed in 1923.

Matlock was appointed as pastor of Allen Chapel in 2010, the only female pastor in the church’s 140-year history.

“I am honored to be the first female pastor with the church,” Matlock said. “I had mixed emotions being the first woman. I asked God, ‘Why would you put a giant in the hands of a midget?’”

Before the tour, students weren’t certain what they were in for.

“When I first got on the bus, I was not sure what to expect,” TR student Elliot Watemberg said. “Some people have never heard of these places. I think there needs to be more attention paid to all of the sites we visited. It’s super important that we preserve it all.”

The tour showed students a side of Fort Worth that they hadn’t seen before.

TR students see the Evans Avenue Hall of Fame inductees as part of the bus tour. Carved into the pavement are the names and brief biographies of people who are important to Fort Worth history. Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian
TR students see the Evans Avenue Hall of Fame inductees as part of the bus tour. Carved into the pavement are the names and brief biographies of people who are important to Fort Worth history.
Photo by: Audrey Werth/The Collegian

“I didn’t think it was going to be how it was,” TR student Vanessa Romero said. “It was nice to go to all of these places that I hadn’t known about before but are so open to the public.”

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