Blackwell School becomes America’s newest National Park Service site

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When Mario Rivera attended the Blackwell School in Marfa, Texas, in the 1950s, he didn’t think much about it.

“It was just a normal school,” the 79-year-old said. “The students were, of course, Hispanic, being that it was a segregated school.”

He didn’t realize it was segregated at age 7 because everyone around him was in the same boat.

“We were never told that there was another school for the white students across the tracks,” Rivera said.

As an adult, he and fellow alumni in the nonprofit Blackwell School Alliance have worked to not only save the school from demolition but preserve its history. After years of lobbying Congress in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association, President Joe Biden this week authoriz the Blackwell School as a national historic site, and the whole country will soon be able to learn from it as America’s newest National Park Service site.

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