WASHINGTON U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced on Tuesday the Blackwell School National Historic Site Act, which would establish the Blackwell School in Marfa as a National Historic site and become a part of the National Park System, a press release detailed.
“Preserving historical sites is crucial for future generations to understand and apply the important lessons learned as they shape the next chapter of American history,” Cornyn stated in the press release. “The Blackwell School in the Big Bend Region of Texas will continue to serve as a symbol of the progress that has been made and what work remains.”
“The history preserved in our National Park System helps tell the rich story of our country. However, our national parks and monuments do not yet adequately represent the significant contributions, and often painful history, of diverse communities across the country,” Padilla stated in the press release. “I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senator Cornyn that would designate one of just a few national park sites that commemorate Latino history. Understanding our nation’s history of segregation and discrimination in places like the Blackwell School that serves as a cornerstone to Mexican heritage, is integral to building a more inclusive and just future in America.”
From 1909 to 1965, the Blackwell School reportedly served as the only school for children of Mexican descent in Marfa to attend. In 2019, the school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and meets qualifications to become a National Historic Site. If signed into law, this legislation would establish the Blackwell School as one of the few national park sites specifically designated to commemorate Latino history and culture in the United States.