The emergence of Black Boy Scout troops in Houston from the 1930s forward is the focus of a historical exhibit on display at the Houston Public Library’s African American History Research Center at the Gregory School through Jan. 28.
The exhibit is free and open to the public at Gregory School, 1300 Victor St. Call 832-393-1440 for more information.
Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America emerged when the country was transforming from an agrarian society of farmers to an industrialized nation of factory and office workers. The BSA’s goal was to teach boys “patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues,” as well as outdoor skills, values that critics thought were lost as families moved to cities.
This exhibit traces early Black Boy Scouts in Houston, first organized in 1935 by the Rev. J.H.M. Boyce. The following year, about a dozen men completed a training course for leaders and formed seven or eight troops in the city. Although interest in scouting started small, with only about a dozen Black Boy Scouts per troop, by 1947 their numbers grew to almost 3,000 throughout Houston.
This exhibition features photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings from the Harrison Family Collection. Edwin Stafford Harrison (1912-1979) was a civic leader, Methodist minister, and the first Black precinct judge and poll tax writer in Harris County. Harrison was a scout executive from 1944 until his retirement in 1975.