Hurd, Vela Advocate for Recognition of Blackwell School as National Historic Site

September 11, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Texas Reps. Will Hurd and Filemon Vela today introduced legislation to add Blackwell School in Marfa, Texas as a National Historic Site (NHS) under the supervision of the National Park Service. 

“The Blackwell School was the only educational institution in Marfa, Texas serving the Latino community for more than fifty years, and is a reminder of de facto segregation throughout the mid-twentieth century. We have a responsibility as a nation to care for these places and ensure the history they represent is told. Blackwell School might represent a dark time in our nation’s past, but we must not shy away from our past so future generations learn from it,” said Hurd.

“I am proud to join my colleague, Congressman Will Hurd, in introducing this bipartisan piece of legislation that would establish the Blackwell School in Marfa, Texas, as a National Historic Site. This bill would recognize the Blackwell School for its role as both an academic and cultural cornerstone at a time when the practice of 'separate but equal' dominated education and social systems. This designation will help preserve and maintain the property so that folks across Texas and the nation can visit and learn the history and experiences of Mexican-American families during this time in Texas history,” said Vela.

“Like so many stories in America, Blackwell’s is one of both pain and pride. And who better to tell that story than the National Park Service? From West Texas to towns across our land, Latino people have helped shape the story of America for centuries. It is long past time for a national park dedicated solely to Latino history in Texas, and the unique cultural identity of the Blackwell School makes it a perfect candidate. The National Parks Conservation Association is proud to support this legislation to designate the Blackwell School National Historic Site,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association.

Hurd serves as co-chair for the Congressional Caucus on National Parks and currently represents eight national parks and historic sites in Congress. If passed, the bill would cause Blackwell School to become number nine and join Fort Davis as the second NHS in Hurd’s district.