Originally founded and opened by Marvell White, David Hill, and Charles Warford in September 1981, the Black Historical Cultural Center plays an integral part in preserving the culture of North Heights. The Center is under the umbrella of the Amarillo United Citizens Forum and is located on 901 N Hayden. The founders were trailblazers in the community who wanted a place that North Heights could call its own.
In this place, they wanted residents of North Heights to be able to get information, host community events, and serve as a safe place for black residents to meet and plan how to celebrate the rich history and culture of the North Heights area.
Since its opening in 1981, the Black Historical Cultural Center has hosted various celebrations, taken care of senior citizens, organized community events like pageants, community breakfasts, and other programs that have helped the residents of North Heights.
In addition to being a venue used for celebrations, The Center holds important artifacts of North Heights history. It is also home to many photos and memories of those that came before us, and the trophies awarded to the athletes who attended Carver High School.
In tribute to his many successes as a cowboy and a beacon for Amarillo minorities, Matthew Bones Hooks was nationally recognized and inducted into the National Cowboy Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame. The Center holds his special award.
The Black Historical Cultural Center was originally occupied by the Wyatt Memorial Hospital built by North Heights trailblazer, Dr. James Odis Wyatt. After being denied hospital jobs because he was black, Wyatt and his wife opened this hospital.
Dr. Wyatt wanted a place for black residents to get the medical attention they truly needed. Adjacent to the Wyatt Memorial Hospital was a small house that served as the nurses’ residence. The home still stands today and is known as the Wyatt Historic Home Museum. This museum holds more historical treasures and collectibles from the legacy of Dr. Wyatt and the North Heights area.
Today the Black Historical Cultural Center still serves the North Heights Community. Many community organizations host their monthly meetings there, many social services hold informational events for the community, and it is a space where residents can go and cast their votes on local election days.
The future plans of The Center are to keep it as a hub for the community. The Center will continue to provide important information and programs to its residents. The overall goal for the center is to keep the legacy of North Heights for generations to come.
The Center is partnering with different community organizations to ensure that its North Heights community is well informed. They also plan to focus on mentorships, educational programs, and programs that spark economic development in the North Heights area.