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Council Report: New library on East Lancaster to be named after Reby Cary

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Fort Worth’s first children and teen focused library will be named the Reby Cary Youth Library. The announcement to the city council came via an informal report at Tuesday’s work session.

Reby Cary was a veteran of World War II, and a leader in education, community activism, and politics.

“We are pleased to name this library after a noted community leader. Mr. Reby Cary was a Fort Worth native who was dedicated to serving his city,” Fort Worth Library Director Manya Shorr said. “His life included a lot of firsts, from breaking barriers on the Fort Worth ISD school board and at UT-Arlington and beyond. We hope his name inspires all those who enter Fort Worth’s first youth library’s doors to push the limits to achieve great things in their own lives.”

As part of the Fiscal Year 2014 bond, the new 8,000 square feet family library is being built at 3851 E. Lancaster Ave., between Haynes Avenue and Mountain View Avenue. This will be the first family library in the Fort Worth Public Library system.

Cary’s daughter, Faith Cary-Ellis, was on hand to thank the council.

“We always knew he had a private legacy of education and giving back to his community, but this is going to be an extraordinary public legacy,” she said. “And it’s going to be not only for me to enjoy, but my grandchildren and those that come after.”

Born in Fort Worth, Cary graduated from I.M. Terrell High School and received a bachelors degree in history, along with a masters degree in history and political science, both from Prairie View A&M. His education was interrupted by World War II, but after serving in the United States Coast Guard as a radio operator, he completed his education in 1948.

After helping establish the McDonald College of Industrial Arts for African-Americans in the Riverside neighborhood, he continued his work in education as a history and government instructor and counselor at Dunbar Middle School. In 1967, he became an assistant professor of history at the new Tarrant County Junior College. Two years later, he was the first African-American professor hired by the University of Texas at Arlington, where he was instrumental in the transition of the school mascot from the Confederate Rebel to the Maverick.

Cary was also a successful entrepreneur who established a real estate company and advocated for black chambers of commerce locally and at the state level.

In 1974, he was elected to the Fort Worth ISD Board of Education, another first as an African-American. Four years later, he was elected Texas District 95 State Representative. He helped pass legislation to create a state Human Relations Commission to fight discrimination. Additionally, he served on the Tax Appraisal Review Board and the Fort Worth Transit Authority Board.

Among Cary’s passions was recording and preserving history. He wrote several books detailing the efforts of individuals and organizations in Fort Worth and Tarrant County’s African-American communities as civil rights activists and community leaders.

An online submission process that brought in 123 name suggestions, many

multiple times. In all, 501 submissions were received at

District 8 Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray, Meadowbrook Neighborhood Association President Tonya Ferguson, and the Fort Worth Public Library leadership team each picked their top eight names. The top five overlapping names were put out on the library’s website for a public vote.

“With a community uniting to address literacy in our youth, it is exciting to open a location that will offer services, programs, and materials curated to meet the needs of the children, teenagers and families who visit,” Shorr said. “I am proud that we can continue to improve and expand the services we offer to residents of Fort Worth.”

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