Historic Black college in Conroe to become youth community center

Plans for the Conroe Normal and Industrial College include the addition of a football field and community garden. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plans for the Conroe Normal and Industrial College include the addition of a football field and community garden. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

Plans for the Conroe Normal and Industrial College include the addition of a football field and community garden. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

For years, Conroe Normal and Industrial College, an all-Black college built in 1903, has sat empty on 10th Street.

The college was once a prominent and well-respected institution, according to the Texas State Historical Association. But after struggling to survive the Great Depression, it saw its enrollment again decrease in the 1980s, and it eventually ceased classes.

However, a recent partnership between a Black activist and a Conroe police officer may help restore the college to a youth community center.

LaDon Johnson, an activist with the Good Brothers and Sisters of Montgomery County, a nonprofit seeking to advocate for the Black community, said he met Lt. Brent Stowe with the Conroe Police Department at a protest Johnson organized following the death of George Floyd. The two became friends and formed the idea of restoring the college.

“We had the same vision,” Stowe said.••The goal is to transform the college to the Conroe Community Youth Development Center, which would include a football field, a sports complex, a community garden and a kitchen for cooking classes, among others, LaDon said.

The new center would be the headquarters of the Good Brothers and Sisters of Montgomery County as well as for Northside Lions of Montgomery County, a football program Stowe runs that works with youth athletes.

“I’m just going to do real community work,” Johnson said. “I’m going to ... get things going.”

The partners are in conversations with the property owner and are seeking donations from citizens as well as funding from the county and the city. There is no set timeline or projected costs yet, but LaDon said his goal would be $1 million.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


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