Responding to Our Community

The Pecan Tree-McCullough neighborhood in College Station, Texas, is a multicultural close-knit community. 

Dr. Gwendolyn Webb-Hasan, associate professor of public school administration, has spent several years working with community members to promote educational growth through one of the neighborhood’s oldest and trusted buildings — The Lincoln Center. 

The Lincoln Center is a recreational facility that offers a variety of adult and youth programs. Featuring after school activities, summer camps and the Boys and Girls Club, it’s much more than a building; it serves as a beacon for residents young and old. 

Dr. Webb-Hasan helps coordinate events at the center and partners with schools in the area to highlight educational and social needs within the community. Her work has allowed for extended tutoring programs, student-teacher focus groups, student-parent engagement programs and law enforcement seminars all at the center. 

The focal points of many of the programs are to help extend education in the classroom and match it with community engagement, a concept that Dr. Webb-Hasan also implements in her undergraduate courses. 

This past year, students in her Community Partnerships class hosted an event titled “A Conversation with Law Enforcement.” The students partnered with the City of Bryan, City of College Station, Texas A&M Campus Police, and undergraduate students of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

“It’s not uncommon for people to feel as though there is not a clear dialogue with law enforcement,” she said. ”[Events like this] will help us build a platform where all individuals in the community can begin to know and form bonds with their local police officers.” 

Students in the class worked with law enforcement as a way to bring a mutually beneficial narrative throughout the Bryan- College Station community. Through community canvassing, the students observed community members and advised officers on the best ways to serve them. 

“The idea of being culturally responsive is something that needs to happen everywhere. There are people that don’t feel empowered. We want to empower people in the community and teach them how to advocate for their families and others,” Dr. Webb-Hasan said. 

Using the Lincoln Center helps strengthen the success of these programs because the people living close by are familiar with it. Dr. Webb- Hasan views the potential impact of these programs and the Lincoln Center as a hand up, not a handout. 

“Having places like the Lincoln Center is very important to people around here,” said Dr. Webb-Hasan. “The activities held here continue to build bridges of communication for those in the community.” 

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A Connection to the Community

Historically an African-American neighborhood, the Pecan Tree-McCullough neighborhood grew alongside Texas A&M University in the mid-20th century. The neighborhood was one of the few places near Texas A&M that landowners would provide housing for, or sell land to, African- Americans at the time. As the university grew, so did the need for employees and many African- American residents moved to the area. 

In the early 1940s, the A&M Consolidated Negro School opened on the site and served as the leading school in the neighborhood for African- American students. In 1965, only a few years before integration, a significant part of the building burned down. By this time, however, the center had already cemented its place into the fabric of the community. 

“After the fire, the gym was the only thing still functional. The City of College Station purchased the center as more and more people wanted to use the gym so that students could have a place to go,” said former Lincoln Center director Lance Jackson. “The many renovations over the years have helped the center become more connected to the social health network within the Brazos Valley.”