Progressive Club turns 50; churns out more scholarships


By Dr. Deirdre Williams

In 1974, four African American Construction workers — Ammie Carter, Jr., Hiawatha Franks, Sr., Nathaniel “Bubba” Bennett, and Homer Williams, Sr. — saw that African American students attending Lockhart High School did not have access to as many scholarships as the other students.

The solution: Progressive Club. Their goal was simple: provide scholarships to African American seniors at Lockhart High School.

In February 1975, Progressive Club held its first banquet at Lockhart Intermediate School, now Navarro Elementary. That May, Steve Manning and Johnnie Winn received the first Progressive Club scholarships.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, Lockhart’s Progressive Club celebrated its 50th year of existence and annual Black History Banquet, honoring its founders. Guest speaker Professor Mario Salas shared The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of American History. The audience was reminded of God’s goodness and protection with a praise dance and mime by Heights of Praise of Austin.

Over the last 50 years, Progressive Club has awarded almost 200 scholarships to Lockhart High School Seniors. Thus, building a legacy of success by investing in the lives of young African Americans that will continue for years to come.


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