Student's Research Leads to Spot on Dan Rather's TV Show

August 26, 2008

When HDNet’s “Dan Rather Reports” airs a story on 50 years of race relations in the United States, there will be a Houston connection and a University of Houston affiliation.  Ronnie Turner, journalism major and writer for The Daily Cougar, will be featured in an interview on Quentin Mease, the founder of the South Central YMCA on Wheeler Avenue.

Turner was researching the history of the Third Ward facility as part of the UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

 “I interviewed Mr. Mease and looked through photos and papers and really came to know him,” Turner said.  “Professor [Orson] Cook from the Honors College knew someone from ‘Dan Rather Reports’ who happened to be in Houston to speak with Mr. Mease.  They interviewed me about my research, as well.” 

Following World War II, Mease came to Houston to work for the YMCA and pushed for the Third Ward facility when he saw the poor conditions of other YMCAs in African American communities.  The South Central location became a critical presence in Houston.

The “Dan Rather Reports” program premiers at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 26 on HDNet.  While you must have an HD television and a cable subscription to HDNet to see the premier, the program will be available for viewing via the Internet at for several days following the preview. 

Turner expects to use his research on Quentin Mease and the South Central YMCA for his honor’s thesis. 

Marisa Ramirez