Home National museum San Antonio family history relic on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

San Antonio family history relic on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

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SAN ANTONIO – Pamela McKinney said it was bittersweet to see her father’s old 1932 Model B Ford in the back of a tractor-trailer, heading for the National Museum of American History.

“We were a little nervous about it coming out of the family, but it’s still in the family. It’s just in a better, safer place,” she said.

Kathleen Franz, land transportation curator and chair of the Labor and Industry Division, said the story itself is special because there aren’t many of these vehicles left.

But, the fact that it also tells the story of the McKinney family of San Antonio only adds to the richness it brings to the museum.

“It can tell many stories about Delbert McKinney as Pullman Porter and his wife, Dottie, who is union secretary here in San Antonio,” she said.

They were the original owners and tell the story of their family’s journey through the days of segregation.

This will be the first vehicle originally owned by a Black American in the museum’s collection.

The car was then passed on to Dell’s youngest son, Alonzo Sr., whose four children donated the car to the museum.

Alonzo himself also had a rich history serving his country as an aviator. Some of the stickers from the local bases are still on the car.

Pamela McKinney remembers it being a source of pride for her father. She would go for walks with him.

“It didn’t go very fast. It would just go around, you know, around the block,” she said.

The interior will be restored and the stories of Delbert and his children will be told alongside his exhibit.

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