SAN ANTONIO — For over 50 years, Tommy “TC” Calvert Sr. has been an activist in his community of San Antonio and beyond.

“San Antonio is my home,” said Calvert Sr. “It’s my roots. It’s where I grew up.”

He says his activism all started in the 1960s when he went to a restaurant and got his first taste of racism. Calvert Sr. attempted to order lunch but was turned away.

“She said, ‘Little n***** boy. We don’t serve Blacks in here,’” he said. “I was so hurt. I was about 7 years old, so I experienced that at a very young age.”

Calvert Sr. says his calling was ignited that day. As a teen, he helped to organize Black student unions at colleges across Texas. Today, Calvert Sr. in the president of a nationwide nonprofit, the Neighborhoods First Alliance.

“We’re responsible for over $400-500 million worth of street and drainage projects throughout the city,” said Calvert Sr. “Primarily on the East, South and West Side.”

But his work goes beyond local projects.

“That was in 1984 when he first ran. I was Jesse Jackson’s South Texas campaign coordinator,” Calvert Sr. said.

Calvert Sr. said he is proud to make an impact both locally and across the nation. He helped with the federal Community Reinvestment Act, which passed Congress in 1977. The act encouraged banks to make loans to all borrowers, including low-income, minority neighborhoods.

As a part of San Antonio’s DreamWeek 2024, Calvert Sr. is being honored at the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum’s (SAAACAM) Legacy Awards Ball.

“A lot of deep history in San Antonio,” said Calvert Sr. “I stand on the shoulders of many people who come before me. G.J. Sutton, Rev. Claude Black, the list goes on and on.”

The ball is SAAACAM’s inaugural fundraiser to help with their renovations on the newly acquired Kress Building, located just two blocks away from the Alamo in downtown San Antonio. The group hopes to revamp the building, which is estimated to be a $35 million project, and open the largest Black history museum in Texas.

“They are going to be telling the story that doesn’t get told,” said Calvert Sr. “A lot of famous African Americans and Hispanics have done great things and been trailblazers in the city.”

Calvert Sr. has laid the groundwork. Now, his legacy continues through his son, Tommy Calvert Jr., who was elected as the first Black county commissioner in Bexar County.

“I just tell him, Tommy, never forget where you come from,” said Calvert Sr. “And always be the voice for those who don’t have a voice. Because you’re very privileged to be in that position.”

DreamWeek San Antonio comprises over 200 events that started Jan. 12 and finish Jan. 28. The mission of the summit is to “celebrate our humanity by creating environments for civil and civic engagement to embrace ideas and dreams for the common good,” according to its website