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National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame - Dallas/Ft. Worth
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Gloria Reed Austin

Executive Director

Mrs. Gloria Reed Austin has been the Executive Director of the Renaissance Cultural Center (RCC) since its inception in 1991.  Other accomplishments include founding the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame with husband James “Jim” N. Austin, Jr., in 2001.  The museum was renamed The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in August 2008.  The couple combines their personal interest in preserving an important slice of American History, with their passion and belief in community service. They provide a forum for educating a nation about the positive contributions and accomplishments of African American, Native American and Mexican American descents to the settling of the western United States, through the museum's annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony of unsung western heroes and free Cultural Workshops for Youth and Adult Speakers Forums. The center and museum are separate 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that provide educational and cultural opportunities to inner-city youth and their families. 

One of Mrs. Reed Austin’s proudest accomplishments is the establishment of the Renaissance Cultural Center Scholarship Program.  The center has donated $424,500 to 251 youth graduating from high schools located within Tarrant County since beginning the scholarship program in 1995.  The scholarships are awarded at an annual banquet that features nationally recognized speakers to provide inspiration to attendees (Susan Taylor, Ed Gordon, Steadman Graham, Clifton Davis, Rev. Frederick Haynes, III and U. S. Congressman Walter Fauntroy, to name a few).  Recognition in the form of “Living Legend” awards are also presented to area citizens who have dedicated their lives to community service.  This has provided an excellent example of an inter-generational program by providing youth with role models within the community.  The “legends” are recognized along with the scholarship recipients at the annual Renaissance Cultural Center Dr. Marion J. Brooks Living Legend Award and Scholarship Banquet, held in June each year.  The senior citizen recognition program has recognized eighty-one (81) citizens within its seventeen (17) year history. 

The National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum houses exhibits and programs that document the role of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans in settling the West, as well as the history of the Buffalo Soldiers and the Tuskegee Airmen.  The museum offers free Youth Cultural History Workshops to the area school districts on Wednesdays and Thursdays, featuring historians and storytellers that help bring “history to life” for young students and educators as well.  The goal of the workshops is to use the strength that early pioneers showed through their resiliency and creativity to overcome great hardships as examples of why building character and taking advantage of educational opportunities is equally as important as the youth face challenges in today’s world.  The museum and cultural center are located at 3400 Mount Vernon Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas.  The hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday, from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  Websites are www.renaissanceculturalcenter.org ; Email:  info@renaissanceculturalcenter.org and www.cowboysofcolor.org; Email:  info@cowboysofcolor.org .

Having served seven (7) years on the City of Fort Worth City Plan Commission, Mrs. Reed Austin, a Texas licensed real estate agent, community endeavors have included board memberships on Harris Methodist Health System Board of Trustees, Fort Worth Sister Cities International Board of Directors, Senior Citizen Services of Greater Tarrant County, Inc. Board of Directors, Texas Wesleyan University Board of Visitors, Camp Fire Boys and Girls - First Texas Council and the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.  Awards and Recognition include being in inducted as an honorary member in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority in June 2010; receiving the designation as a Woman Making a Powerful Difference Award bestowed by ABC Radio Networks and Clorox Pine-Sol.  The makers of Pine-Sol Cleaners saluted and featured Mrs. Reed Austin in the May 2008 issue of Essence Magazine in June 2008; Fort Worth, Texas Mayor Mike Moncrief Believing In Youth Award Recipient - April 2005; Great Women of Texas 2001 Women of Influence Award Finalist presented by the Fort Worth Business Press; Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Division Eagle Award - Outstanding Non-Profit Organization of the Year - June 1999; National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., Alpha Sigma Chapter – Eminent Citizen Award, Media Category - December 1999; YMCA Minority Achiever Award – 1996;  and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Player of the Week. 

When explaining her philosophy about fostering resiliency in young people she says, “I believe that if you help a young person develop a strong sense of self worth, see the importance of having personal morals and values, and develop a sense of responsibility to the community, you have given them tools to deal with the ups and downs that life invariably brings their way.”  Ms. Austin’s commitment to young people is further demonstrated by her personal giving of time, energy and resources through countless hours of community service and volunteer efforts.  Her humble response to the numerous community awards and recognitions she has received is, “We hope that through our example of giving back, our children will learn there is a purpose for their life other than self-gratification and there is a joy in helping others succeed that stands the test of time.” 

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