Syble Smith

Syble Smith Davis, President

Syble Smith Davis hails from Palestine, Texas. She came to Houston to attend Texas Southern University where she graduated with a BA and MA in English, with minors in Spanish and African-American Literature with a concentration on the Harlem Renaissance. Early in her career, Syble worked with the late Congressman Mickey Leland and the voting campaign in Houston. With recommendations from Congressman Leland and Houston Independent School District (HISD) Superintendent Rod Paige, she entered the education profession with HISD. Moving forward Professor Davis accepted a position at Houston Community College System as one of the youngest Full-time English Faculty members. Davis has published essays, poems and a short story, “Squatting”that has been published in college textbooks. She has been the recipient of various awards and honors, including the Teaching Excellence Award 2014 and a nomination for 2016-17. Professor Davis has served as Chair of English at the HCCS Central College for four years and Associate Chair of all English for the system. Her leadership extends to many professional memberships and she serves as Scholarship Chairperson for Students for the Black History Gala at HCCS. In addition to HCCS, she has enjoyed successful careers at Texas Southern University, University of Houston/Downtown and as Editor-in-Chief at Houston Style Magazine. She is working on her novel, Turmoil: Acrimonious Assumptions.


Patricia Smith Prather, Historian, Vice President

Co-founder and Executive Director of The Texas Trailblazer Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of blacks in Texas history.

LaWanda Burrell, Author, Board Member

LaWanda Lewis Burrell is a native of Greenville, Alabama who has lived in the Houston area for over 20 years with her husband and three beautiful children. She received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology from Stillman College. Mrs. Burrell is a former Educator and HR Professional believing that success has no limits, if you can dream it, then you can do it! Her leadership skills includes managing, implementing and creating HR policies for 100 + employees, involvement in several professional organizations, a guest speaker for the Houston Texas Book Club and the Board of Directors at Houston Baptist University, where she is a graduate student majoring in Human Services Counseling. She loves the community as she volunteers with the Harris County Remembrance Project, The African American Library at the Gregory School, volunteer ministry at Lakewood Church, a proud member of the Order of Eastern Star, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., as she served as the undergraduate chapter President. Mrs. Burrell turned her passion into her purpose and has been writing for many years. In her autobiography, Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time's Up, she shares inspirational true stories of her challenges and personal struggles where she had to lean to God for understanding and stand up and speak for her beliefs. She motivates you to have a life of purpose, understand your self-worth, and be kind to one another. Her powerful testimony will fill you with hope and faith and encourage you to love and forgive.

Rebecca Hankins

Rebecca Hankins, Board Member

Hankins, who has worked for the Texas A&M University Libraries since 2003, is an associate professor, curator and archivist for Africana Studies, Woman’s and Gender Studies, and Arabic language. Also, she is a Regent for Exam Development for the Academy of Certified Archivists and a Distinguished Fellow of the Society of American Archivists. Hankins oversees collections housed in Cushing Memorial Library and Archives and assists with diversity campaigns and exhibitions. She will continue in her present position while also serving on the national commission. “Her experience and work ethic have made her an ideal pick for appointment to a key administration post,” commented David Carlson, dean of Texas A&M University Libraries. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) is a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The NHPRC supports a wide range of activities to publish, preserve, and encourage the use of documentary sources relating to the history of the United States, created in every medium ranging from computer to quill pen. The NHPRC implements its policies and recommendations, implements the grant program for NARA, and provides assistance and advice to potential applicants and grantees on proposals. “It’s a real honor and I’m humbled by this acknowledgement of my long career as an archivist,” Hankins said. “I’m looking forward to working with this commission that funds so many important projects and strategic work of the American people.”

Amy Earhart, Ph.D., Board Member

Associate Professor Texas A&M University / Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 1999 / M.A., The University of Tennessee, 1993 / B.A., Lebanon Valley College, 1991

Jacqueline B. Giles, Ph.D., Board Member

Associate Professor Houston Community College - Central / Ph.D. Interdisciplinary Engineering, Texas A&M University 1989 / Ph.D. Mathematics, Texas A&M University 1988 / M.S. Mathematics, Texas A&M University 1986 / B.S. Applied Mathematics, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn 1969 / B.A. Mathematics, Texas Southern University 1966