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Brenda Tucker thinks many people know about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.
She hopes the annual open house at the Black History Gallery on Gallery Place in Elizabethtown allows area residents to learn more about other important black figures such as George Washington Carver and Fredrick Douglass.
The gallery, at 100 Gallery Place in Elizabethtown, hosts its annual open house from 1-4 p.m. Saturday. The Delta Sigma Theta sorority has hosted the open house for about 20 years, said Tucker, a caretaker for the gallery.
Caretakers hope the gallery is open every other Saturday during Black History Month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The gallery is free and open to the public.
The gallery is full of newspaper clippings, magazines and other items depicting important people and moments from black history compiled by Elizabethtown native Emma Reno Connor, one of Hodgenville’s first black preschool teachers, Tucker said.
“Anything that she could get her hands on, she found it to be an artifact that would help to tell the story a little bit better,” she said.
Emma Reno Connor’s husband, Charles Connor, used those materials to further community education about black history by continuing the gallery until his death.
The couple’s niece has kept the gallery going following Charles Connor’s death, and has worked with Tucker and her husband to renovate the gallery.
Tucker said Charles Connor would have wanted them to continue the gallery.
“In honor of that dream that she had and in honor of Mr. Connor’s legacy, we want to do everything that we can to keep that legacy going,” she said.
People have to learn about their past to create a better future, Tucker said.
She is proud to be surrounded at the gallery by examples of people who have continued the long journey toward equality and a better society.
“We are not a forgotten race,” she said. “We may have been disenfranchised because someone said it, but that did not define who we were, and certainly not who we have become. I am proud.”
Tucker hopes visitors this month will each learn one or two things that they can apply to their lives and give them hope about the future.
“You have to know about it,” she said. “You have to know what occurred on that journey in order to continue that journey.”
Amber Coultercan be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.