The Buard Historic Trail was named to honor Rebecca Drayden Buard. Mrs. Buard received a bachelor’s degree from Bishop College and a master’s degree from Southern California University. She was a teacher, historian, author and civic leader. She began her teaching career at age 16 in a one-room Rosenwald School in the High Ridge Community. She also taught at Pemberton High School and Wiley College.
The Historic Landmark Preservation Board of the City of Marshall established the Buard Historic Trail in 2007 as a 90-minute driving trail highlighting 28 sites to highlight African-American history in Marshall’s New Town Neighborhood. The New Town Neighborhood, a primary African-American neighborhood, is located on the southwest side of Marshall. By 1930, there were six African-American communities within the City of Marshall. The most prestigious was the New Town Neighborhood.
New Town was developed around Wiley College, the oldest accredited black college west of the Mississippi River. New Town was the home of many prominent African-Americans. This area was chosen by doctors, teachers and other professionals to set up their businesses.
Businesses included grocery stores, restaurants, a floral shop, dry cleaners, medical offices, a hospital, funeral homes, schools and churches. Many of the historic buildings are no longer standing, however, these sites are marked with a Buard Historical Trail sign.
You are invited to step back into Marshall’s history and learn about the historical and cultural legacies of African-Americans and their contributions to the City of Marshall, the state and nation. From the beginning of Marshall’s settlement, African-Americans have contributed to the growth and development of the City of Marshall.
Trail guides are available in the Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau in downtown Marshall.