The Museum supports a training center for our Youth 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 or emotional appeals.
Mrs. Gilliam believed that more voices are heard when they come to the table armed with- knowledge of the facts and a well-reasoned point of view, which allows for better communication and greater change.
Debate team members are from grades 3-5 and participate in multiple debate competitions throughout the school year, culminating in a debate tournament in Atlanta, GA. Community leaders and area teachers serve as debate team coaches and advisers. It is our goal to teach and instill an appreciation for the written and spoken word, as well as the well researched and reasoned debate.
For the past three (3) years our Youth Debate Team has traveled to Atlanta, GA to compete against other elementary school teams and consistently scores as one of the highest teams.
The Museum is located in Mrs. Gilliam’s former home in the heart of South Dallas. Mrs. Gilliam’s home was 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.
Mrs. 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 stands as reminder to the community of what one can do for the many when they have passion, dedication and an understanding of organizational movements.
The Museum displays Mrs. Gilliam's awards, books, photos and other salient artifacts that share her mission and story. The Museum also serves as a meeting space for local organizations. Please contact the Museum to schedule your next meeting.
The Museum will expand to 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. Our goal is to utilize retired educators to provide students and community members with:
Mrs. Gilliam left behind numerous books that she enjoyed reading for work and pleasure. The Museum encourage's people of all ages to come and enjoy the books she cherished.
"The Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum and the debate team has been phenomenal! My daughter is a junior debater and with training and exposure and learning tools, she has developed a great confidence in her speaking. This is an awesome experience for all children who have an interest in debating, communicating, and speaking to large groups. Thanks!"
-- Alesia Williams, mother to Ryane
"As a parent who often challenge my children to formulate their opinions with relevant facts, the Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum allows young people to discuss and debate the historical and contemporary issues that are important to the world. By doing this, young people become active participants in the solutions oriented thinking that move our communities forward. Through travel, speaking, and spirited debate, the KJGM team equips youngsters with their leadership skills for lasting next generation impact."
--Shouna Turner, mother to Skye
“The Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum Debate Team is an outstanding program empowering the voices of South Dallas children and giving them a unique platform to be heard. We are so blessed to take part in this family orientated team. KJGM has played a significant role in the professional development of my son Amir Najm. Amir joined the debate team in 4th grade as a struggling reader with dyslexia. Connie and coaches welcomed Amir with open arms poured into him an abundance of love, support, and resources. Amir performed exceptionally well in his first debate. I was amazed at how well spoken he was and in his speed of delivery. He found his voice! Today, Amir is a confident 13 year old, a great academic student, avid reader, and a young entrepreneur. Thank you!”
-- LeShawn Richardson, mother of Amir Najm