• PAAM Founders Circle

HERitage Exhibit Q&A

Updated: Feb 14

Welcome to the online exhibit for the Plano African American Museum! The HERitage exhibit contains Historical, Modern & Contemporary contributions of African - American women that impacted Plano with positive change.


1. Who are the women currently included in this exhibit?


  • Eleonor Stimpson - Drake (Descendant of Founding Families)

  • Andie Stimpson (Descendant of Founding Families)

  • Dr. Tamara Thomas (Descendant of Founding Families)

  • Dollie Thomas (Descendant of Founding Families)

  • Toni Thomas (Descendant of Founding Families)

  • Baby Doll (Descendant of Founding Families)

  • Myrtle Hightower (Educator, Mentor & Philanthropist, and advocate for the historic Douglass Community)


2. What do these women have in common?

Women included in the exhibit range from professionals, service-oriented leaders, philanthropists, humanitarians, and educators.


3. Why was it important to highlight women from the Founding Families?

A Founding Family is a term to describe a person or a group of people that either found or established an important piece of history, community, institution, or ignited a movement. Throughout history, the term 'Founding Family' can describe family - relationships or parties that have come together over time that works together on a common goal.


4. Why was it important to dedicate an entire collection towards HER-itage?

Women have played many supportive roles throughout history and have been part of some of the biggest decisions, symbolic expressions, and movements. We have women leaders, women on the frontlines spearheading positive change throughout their circles, and women that have are pioneers and trailblazers. With history books usually providing a


Here's an example of how quickly history can change based on the way it's written and communicated to others:

"Margot Lee Shetterly is an author who is married to Aran Shetterly, a writer and historian"

How did you feel reading this entry? Did it spark curiosity? Where you inspired?


Let's try the new narrative...


"Margot Lee Shetterly is an African - American author and professional that ignited a global spark to inspiring future generations to challenge the history they have been taught by uncovering the story of 3 African-American women that Helped Win the Space Race. Her book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race reached number one on The New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers in 2016. The book takes place from the 1930s through the 1960s when some viewed women as inferior to men, in addition to the book taking place during the Great Depression through to the Civil Rights era. The biographical text follows the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three mathematicians who worked as computers (then a job description) at NASA, during the space race. They overcame discrimination there, as women and as African Americans. Since the release of the book and the featured film released in 2016 starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, and Kevin Costner, the film was nominated for several awards, including three Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer)."

How did you feel reading this entry? Did it spark curiosity? Where you inspired?


This is the reason we need to help tell the stories of women by recognizing the supportive impact and contributions of all people. Throughout history, women are severely underrepresented. Within the cluster of "Woman History", minority groups and especially Black/African-American contributions are given the level of details compared to the way Men are represented throughout history. Throughout history, the supportive roles of women are mentioned, but not celebrated or even mainstream knowledge. So, the next time you're reading an entry in a textbook - remember that it always takes a team to make the change and drive efforts forward. Ask yourself, who else was part of the change?



4. Will we add more women to this exhibit?


Of course! History is in the making! We first want to honor the women of the Founding Families so that we can understand how far we've come as a community! It's through mentorship, support, advocacy, activism, and teamwork that the women mentioned in this exhibit have helped local women and communities. Through servant-leadership, these women continue to contribute their time towards making the world a better place - starting locally in Plano, Texas! In the meantime, use hashtags #WomenInHistoryPlano #PlanoBlackHistory in your social media posts so our team can track history down and include it in!



5. Why is history important?


Our favorite definition of history is this: Studying history enables us to develop a better understanding of the world in which we live. Building knowledge and understanding of historical events and trends, especially over the past century, enables us to develop a much greater appreciation for current events today.





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