the Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum


The museum will continue Mrs. Gilliam’s vision into the future by offering a suite of educational services catered to enriching the educational development of today’s youth, while preserving and learning from past achievements that paved the way.

"Although history appears to focus primarily on the past, its essential concern is the future.  All history is written with an eye toward the future." -Anderson Thompson​

The Museum will also support a training center for a Debate Team. Mrs. Gilliam would say, “Our children have not mastered the art of discussion.”  An important skill which allows those who  hold opposing views to discuss controversial issues without descending to insult, emotional appeals or personal bias.  Mrs. Gilliam believed that more voices are heard when they come to the table armed with:

  • A knowledge of the facts;  and
  • A well-reasoned point of view

Each allowing for better communication and ultimately greater change. 

Debate team members will be selected from area schools and will participate in debate team competitions.  Students from both public and private schools and community groups will serve as mentors and debate team sponsors.

 It is our goal to inspire, teach and instill an appreciation for the written and spoken word, as well as the well researched and reasoned debate. 

The Museum will support a Reading Resource Room.  Mrs. Gilliam believed that reading was the key to success.  She often said, “If you can read, you can do anything”- truer words were never said.   The Reading Resource Room will utilize retired educators to provide students and community members with:

  • Guided reading programs to support district reading initiatives;
  • Summer reading camps to maintain student achievement levels;
  • Adult literacy programs to improve and empower adult community members;  and
  • Computer literacy programs to prepare the community for 21st century working and living, chipping away at the digital divide.

Mrs. Gilliam left behind numerous books that she enjoyed reading for work and pleasure. 

The Museum will encourage people of all ages to come and enjoy the books she cherished. 

the Debate Team

the Reading Room

The Museum will be located in Mrs. Gilliam’s former home in the heart of South Dallas. Gilliam’s home has been designated an historical landmark by the City of Dallas, a distinction that is only given to a select few based on the significant impact a person or place has had on the Dallas community.

Gilliam resided in her South Dallas home for 40 years, where she had an open-door policy for concerned community members. Political and educational movements were envisioned and executed at her kitchen table served with a side of her legendary crispy fried chicken!

The Museum will stand as reminder to the community of what one can do for the many when they have passion, dedication and an understanding of organizational movements and change. 

With donor and community support, we will restore Mrs. Gilliam’s home in order to display her writings, awards, books, photos and other salient artifacts to share her mission and story with generations to come. 

the Museum