Houston Museum to unveil special exhibit dedicated to Coast Guard’s Pea Island Lifesaving Station

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HOUSTON — Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Texas City in collaboration with the National Naval Officer Association Greater Houston Chapter have coordinated a special exhibit dedicated to the Pea Island Lifesaving Station, to be displayed at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and the exhibit unveiling scheduled for Friday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

As the first all-African American crew to serve within U.S. Lifesaving Service, the Pea Island Lifesaving Station crew saved countless lives along the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the 19th century. The Pea Island Station Surfmen are revered for their daring rescue of the merchant vessel E.S. NEWMAN in 1896. Overcoming formidable sea conditions, the crew amazingly saved all nine individuals onboard, including the captain’s wife and three-year old son.

With funding and logistical support provided by the Coast Guard Office of Governmental & Public Affairs, the exhibit will feature the famed painting entitled, “Pea Island Lifesaving Crew Makes a Rescue” by artist Roy E. LaGrone, the Gold Lifesaving Medal posthumously awarded to the Pea Island Lifesaving Keepers, a collage of framed photos from the World War II-era, as well as other artifacts honoring the Pea Island Lifesaving Crew.

“Over the last two years while serving at MSU Texas City, I have created a lasting relationship with the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in the Houston Museum District. The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is one of only a few museums in the United States dedicated primarily to preserving the legacy and honor of African-Americans in military service,” said Lt. Lcdr. Zeita Merchant, executive officer of Marine Safety Unit Texas City and a lifetime NNOA member. “Provided the rich history of African-American military artifacts already displayed at the museum from other services, I have worked closely with the museum to establish its first Coast Guard exhibit.”

Serving as keynote speaker, retired Coast Guard Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon will discuss his work as a famed historian in addition to his influence towards the preservation and recognition of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station.

The exhibit unveiling is open to the public with no admission cost, however seating is limited. Call 713-942-8920 to RSVP and for more information. The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is located at 3816 Caroline St., Houston, Texas 77004

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