Daniel Duke

Daniel Duke

As of last month, the City of Marshall has officially hired Daniel Duke as its new Director of Tourism and Cultural Arts.

“Mr. Duke will assume a key role in the management and vision for the city’s Tourism and Cultural Arts Department, we are happy to welcome him to the City of Marshall,” City Manager Mark Rohr said.

Duke is a long time resident of Texas, growing up in Liberty Hill and moving to Marshall recently to be with his girlfriend.

“I feel like that’s the age old story isn’t it? It’s always about a woman,” Duke said.

Duke graduated from Concordia University Texas with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and he also holds an associate’s degree in communications.

He has held a range of careers throughout his life, including as a business owner, a sales representative with Dales, and even as a published author. In fact, Duke has three traditionally published nonfiction books on Jesse James, who is actually his great-great grandfather.

Duke worked for a long time researching and gathering information for his three books, following the family legacy which was started by his mother, Betty Dorsett Duke.

Duke said that it was a longtold story in his family that they are decedents of Jesse James, though no one until his mother worked to research and document the story. She published three books herself on the topic.

“My mother, being a woman and especially back in the day, she had a hard time with her research. She was disrespected, and really ridiculed at times. Because of that she has more research and documented proof of her findings than most historians do on the topic,” Duke said.

With his mother’s sudden passing in 2015, Duke and his sister Teresa Duke took up the mantel of research and publication of their mothers findings, and more.

Now Duke has published two books, with the third planned to be released in June next year. It was through his work on these books, and the marketing strategy that he cultivated, that he was able to grow and cultivate the skills he said make him perfect for the new position.

“When you work as an author, you really have to do your own promotions, and I was all over it. I was on social media, I even had a spot on the history channel, which was a very cool experience,” Duke said.

In his new role at the Director of Tourism and Cultural Arts, Duke will be responsible for planning, directing, managing and overseeing the activities and operations of all functions of the Tourism and Cultural Arts Department, including Tourism (Visit Marshall), Convention Center/Community Centers, the Marshall Public Library, City Arena, the Golf Course and Memorial City Hall.

Rohr said that Duke was able to distinguish himself by being full of new ideas during his interview, to bring more visitors to town.

Duke said that many of these ideas lean into the city’s already formed plans for Marshall, including making the city the center for arts and performances in Texas.

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City Reporter

Jessica Harker has been the city reporter with the Marshall News Messenger since 2019.