Amarillo man captures, preserves Black History moments

Black History Month

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — You could call Amarillo resident Keith Grays a black history buff.

“I think there are things that bring me joy … and this brings me joy,” Grays said.

By twists of fate and an abundance of blessings, the local business-owner has managed to capture some of Amarillo’s most prominent moments in black history.

In 1996, Grays spent three days with American activist Rosa Parks during her Pathways to Freedom Tour.

“She lived to tell her story, and she blessed Amarillo, Texas by coming to West Texas,” Grays explained. “We had students that were bused in from surrounding areas and it was the highlight of my life.”

Then there were others.

“Right up there next to that is general Colin Powell, speaking to our city. There is just no comparison,” said Grays.

While most locals remember the trial that brought Oprah Winfrey to the High Plains, Grays, who was working in music ministry at Mt. Zion Baptist, invited Oprah to church.

“She loved our community,” he said.

Those are just some of the memories Grays has held onto all these years. Now his mission is to share them with the next generation.

“One of the classrooms I walked into last month, they were studying Rosa Parks and I said I got to spend three days with Ms. Parks in Amarillo, Texas, and one kid said ‘nuh-uh cause Mrs. Rosa Parks is not alive anymore,’ and that was just priceless,” said Grays.

Priceless moments, preserved in Amarillo’s Black History.

“Life in Amarillo as an African American has never been, not for me, one of deprivation and lack and more specifically lack of culture,” said Grays.

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