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African American history in Marshall, Texas, chronicled in new video

The Marshall Historic Landmark Preservation Board will debut a 30-minute video Thursday that showcases the city’s African American heritage. It’s called “The Buard History Trail.”

The video is a montage of interviews and historic photos that highlight the local Civil Rights leaders whose work altered America’s racial divide. The trail shows some of the places where this history happened, and makes the case that African Americans made a remarkable contribution to Marshall’s growth and development.

The video is a companion piece to a 90-minute driving tour of historic sites that was part of an earlier brochure project developed by the city. Marshall is steeped in African American history, according to lcoal historian Gail Beil, who serves on its preservation board.

“We can’t stop the rot of 100 years of wood in a damp climate. But we can stop the indifference, and that’s pretty much our purpose,” Beil said.

The Buard History Trail is named after the late Rebecca Buard, a teacher and civic leader in Marshall who gathered oral histories and developed the Marshall Public Library’s collection of black history.

Marshall native Barney Canson, a New York-based video editor, wrote and directed the documentary. He recruited kids from the local Boys and Girls Club to narrate it.

“What we thought was a good idea was to leave a lot of doors open for people to study on their own, especially for kids watching it. If they’re able to get inspired by one of the sections, they can go on to do their own research to dig a little deeper,” Canson said.

The documentary will be screened Thursday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. at Wiley College’s Julius Scott Chapel. The screening is free and open to the public.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.