15th Annual Celebrate the Legend Banquet to Honor Adelia Kirk, June 15th
R.F. Hardin Museum Inc. is hosting its 15th Annual Celebrate the Legend Banquet on Saturday, June 15th at 6:00 p.m. at the Adam Street Community Center.
The theme for the semi-formal event is “Hardin Speaks,” which is the essence of the ongoing quest of organizers to preserve and honor the institution that was the cornerstone of education for the Brownwood African-American community for more than 68 years.
This year, local business owner, entrepreneur and community servant Adelia Houston Kirk will be the recipient of the Willie Lee Gay Legends Award. Kirk has worked tirelessly within the Hardin Museum organization and the community.
Mrs. Kirk was born in Brown County, the daughter of Bennie and Marjorie Allen Houston. A fourth generation legacy to Brown County she proudly shares “we have six generations born in this county and we are proud to call Brownwood home.” Rufus F. Hardin School educated four generations of Adelia’s family. It is no doubt her love for the Brownwood community runs as deep as her roots.
Kirk graduated from Brownwood High School and went on to attend Howard Payne University, where she met and married her husband of 38 years the Reverend Ernest Kirk. She is also a graduate of the Dallas Institute of Funeral Services and is the current owner of the Brownwood Funeral Home.
The Kirks have been blessed with two biological sons, Ernest Todd Kirk and Elliot Kirk, both graduates of Brownwood High School, Prairie View A&M University and the Dallas Institute of Funeral Services. They proudly raised a third “chosen” son Kevon Johnson who also graduated from Brownwood High School and Buckner Barber College. But their investment in children did not stop there. Ernest and Adelia opened their home as foster parents, raising 174 young men and one young lady, many of whom can be seen spending holidays in the Kirk home with their own families and will be in attendance to see Mrs. Kirk receive her award.
“Adelia was a natural recipient for this award” states Charles Lowe, current President of the R.F. Hardin Museum, Inc. board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors and has held the position as past President of this Board. The organization was founded to restore the historic significance of the building but more so to preserve the rich history represented there. The board has a vision that one day this landmark structure will be a place where the people of Brownwood can learn about the history, education and significance that R. F. Hardin School played in the development of the Brownwood community as well as Texas and the United States of America. The building has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places and been recognized by the Texas Historical Commission, which has worked closely with the organization throughout the rebuilding and preservation process.
Mrs. Kirk’s belief in the preservation of history is evident through her tireless volunteer hours of educating others about the R. F. Hardin School, clean-up projects of the property and fund raising efforts working bake sales, soul food luncheons and ticket sales to the Hardin Museum banquets. “As long as God is willing I will continue my efforts” states Adelia. “I want my future generations to be able to walk the halls of this great building and read the history of our family.” The Kirks are anxiously awaiting the arrival of this next generation as grandson Elijah Kirk is due to arrive in late summer.
The R.F. Hardin School is currently undergoing restoration and will house both an African American museum and serve as a multi-use facility with programs to benefit the youth and the community at large.
Adelia’s investment in the Brownwood community doesn’t stop with the R. F. Hardin Museum Inc. board.
She has served the community in many other capacities, as a former member of the Advisory Board of Central Texas Council of Governments, and Rotary Club, City of Brownwood Library Committee, and graduate of Leadership Brownwood. Kirk was also a previous city council candidate (her father served on the Council for many years). This will not be the first time she has been recognized for her community service. She has been honored by the Girl Scouts of America as a Woman of Distinction and the Bangs Black History Committee as recipient of the Delora Fuller Community achievement award.