By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette
The GW Jackson Legacy Park Groundbreaking Ceremony took place on a sunny morning of Thursday March 10, with several local community members and leadership in attendance for the event.
The park, located at the corner of 708 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Fifth Street, has been in the works for over two decades, realizing its goal through grant donations and fundraising, the GW Jackson Multicultural Society, founded in 2008. A statue of Jackson will be the centerpiece of the new community area.
Jackson was an influential and inspirational figure in Corsicana’s education community, as he was the first African American principal of Fred Douglas School, which was later renamed GW Jackson High School.
The program began with a greeting by Gwen Chance of the GW Jackson Multicultural Society, a prayer invocation by Rev. Dairy Johnson, a graduate of GW Jackson High School, and a welcome by Mayor Don Denbow.
“The park will be a vibrant, welcoming, beautifully landscaped space that will create community collaborations that capture an experience for residents and visitors for all, and for all schoolchildren to learn and to participate in educational activities in many ways,” Chance said.
The Corsicana City Council took a unanimous vote last December to approve progress of the new park.
“We (the City Council) took the vote to get this thing rolling, and we’re really happy to have done that because it represents a type of society and pureness in the East Side that has been here for many, many years,” Denbow said.
The program continued with remarks by Jarod Gordon of Community National Bank and Trust of Texas, Former City of Corsicana Mayor C.L. “Buster” Brown, Sydney McGraw, a graduate of GW Jackson High School and retired state employee, and descendant of the Frank Adams family, Lea Adams Ashley.
Throughout the event, a combined student choir of 40-plus Corsicana ISD students sang two inspirational hymns including “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “Oh, Happy Day.”
Pct. 2 City Councilwoman and GW Jackson High School graduate Ruby Williams was “elated to get the project off the ground.”
“We’ve been trying to do something to showcase our heritage in Precinct 2 for the GW Jackson High School that was such an accredited school with so many successful students,” Williams said.
“This is an asset to the city for everybody.”
The society plans to open the park to the public in the fall of 2022, and is still taking donations to complete the park. Donations may be made at www.gwjacksonsociety.org.
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