COLLEGE STATION, Texas — New artwork and history celebrating the life of Matthew Gaines is on display at A&M University.
From Jan. 14 through Feb. 29, the 'Everybody Gaines' exhibit will be up at the Reynolds Gallery in the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M campus.
Gaines was a former slave who was Washington County's first black state senator. He helped pass the Land-Grant College Act of 1862, also known as the Morrill Act. It provided grants of land to states to finance the establishment of colleges specializing in 'agriculture and the mechanic arts'.
"When you think of the founding story of Texas A&M in 1876, you don't necessarily think of an African-American man," said Elizabeth Barnes, the vice president of the Matthew Gaines Initiative. "Being here to give him his platform and the story that he deserves I think is really amazing."
'Everybody Gaines' is put on by the Memorial Student Center Visual Arts Committee and the Matthew Gaines Initiative.
The Matthew Gaines Initiative's mission is to prove that every Aggie can make a lasting impact on campus.
"Often times when we think of the founding story of Texas A&M it is not people that look like me," said Erica Pauls, the president of the Matthew Gaines Initiative. "I think it is great to showcase that to other people, future Aggies, former Aggies and present Aggies."
Some pieces in the gallery are made from Texas A&M students to help honor the legacy of Gaines.