Tour Tyler Texas, more than just Tourism - Clarence Edmond Shackelford, Community Publicist:
A new commemorative coin in honor of our local, Community Leaders - Civil Rights Activists - Lucille (Sims) & Rostell Williams sponsored by the Texas African American Museum is now available to the public by contacting Texas African American Museum.
Lucille & Rostell Williams are also being highlighted and featured on the New Outdoor Sign in front of the Texas African American Museum.
Lucille Sims Williams and Rostell Williams:
They are both natives of Corsicana, Texas. They both graduated from G.W. Jackson High School in Corsicana. After high school, Mr. Williams was drafted into the United States Army and Mrs. Williams moved to Dallas to attend Southwest School of Business. Upon completion of school, she moved to Tyler. After serving in the Korean War, Rostell Williams moved to Tyler where he then married his high school sweetheart, Lucille Sims.
Mr. Williams's first community involvement began with the Dads Club at Dogan Junior High School. The club was instrumental in raising funds for a boy to have surgery. Mr. Williams was active in the Tyler Organization of Men. Mr. Williams along with Mr. Loyce Allen and Mr. Paul McDow published a newspaper, called “The Caret”. They wrote about the news that affected the black community. Mr. Williams wrote the “gossip” or local news and the sports pages.
In 1971, during the height of desegregation in Tyler, black students at John Tyler High School walked out of school in light of unfair cheerleader elections to include black cheerleaders from the defunct Emmett Scott High School. Mr. Williams was elected president of an organization called “Concerned Parent & Patrons”.
The organization was responsible for saving jobs for black teachers and changing the mascots and symbols at Robert E. Lee High School. Judge William Wayne Justice appointed him as a member of the court-appointed bi-racial committee.
Mrs. Williams was active the PTA president in the “colored” PTA at Texas College child care. Mrs. Williams was also a member of the Tyler Organization of Women. Mrs. Williams was also an important part of the 1971 walkout as a supportive spouse.
Mr. Williams owned W&W Janitorial Services, managed Pierce Moss Funeral Home, and was Operations manager for Shtofman Shoe Company for 30 years.
Mrs. Williams was the first black grocery cashier at Safeway grocery chain in Tyler, as well as being the first black to sell Watkins products in Tyler. Mrs. Williams owned “Lu’s” Cleaning service for 13 years.
Together, Mr. and Mrs. Williams opened Building Blocks Childcare Center. It was the brainchild of Mrs. Williams whose love for children and people, gave root to the first 24/7 childcare center. Shortly after, they saw a need for infants and opened Building Blocks Too, a center for infants.
After a fire destroyed the building, they reopened it as an after-school care facility then remodeled it again and opened it as West Gentry Center, an activities building for rent. Building Blocks and West Gentry Center closed in 2013. Mr. and Mrs. Williams were able to employ many people in the community.
The Williams’ are parents of five adult children, 14 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren as of 2018.
For more info on sponsoring the outdoor sign or the coins contact Clarence Edmond Shackelford, at TourTylerTexas@gmail.com or Send him a TEXT at 903.253.5099
- Tour Tyler Texas, is more than just Tourism. http://TourTylerTexas.org
- Tour Tyler Texas, under the auspices of the nonprofit, Empowerment Community Development Corporation which is a Community Organization at 309 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd 75702