Ector County Treasurer reflects on the past

Hidden History

ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – A prominent Odessa woman is looking back on how things have changed in the city since she first arrived.  We sat down to talk with her about the changes at schools in particular,

She’s currently the Ector County Treasurer and has been a staple in the office for more than two decades.  Cleopatra Callaway talked with us about how the choices her parents made, who got her to where she is today.

Before coming to the Permian Basin, her parents were cotton farmers in Sylvester, Texas.

“The farming industry had gone down so my parents decided to board the pipeline.  When he came into Odessa they found that there was a school, Blackshear high school that extended to the 12th grade, ” said Callaway.  “That the colored, African American children could attend.”

That was back in the 1930’s.  Blackshear High School opened in 1932 and closed in 1966 after the nationwide integration of schools.

“Then my dad was able to obtain a job with the Ector County Independent School District there at Blackshear as a custodian,” said Callaway.  “With him having he keys to the building, he was a very important person.  Here we look at 60 years later, I’m the custodian of the Ector County funds.”

Cleopatra Callaway has now been elected twice as the Ector County Treasurer.  In her office, you’ll find pictures of her heroes.  People who came before her, who stood up to make a difference.  That, along with her faith, keeps her inspired.

We still have a long way to go but with the effort of everyone, not only blacks but every race.  If we will look at each other with respect, we can make a change,” said Callaway.

After Blackshear High School was closed, it was turned into a junior high.  Today the doors are still open as an ECISD elementary school.

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