In October 1987, the Rev. D. L. Barrett called a group of leading citizens together to discuss his vision to create a safe haven for recreation and learning for the children of Cleburne, Texas. the group consisted of community leaders, ministers, parents and other interested citizens. Following a productive meeting, seven residents were chosen as leaders of the effort and the East Cleburne Community Center was created. The charter members were: Rev. and Mrs. D. L. Barrett, Minister Pauline Lauderdale, Rev. Kirklin Cross, Pastor John Warren, Mrs. Herbie Stone, Mr. Michael Fuller.
The ECCC held its first banquet in February 1988 to commemorate Black History Month. The Center also assumed the leadership role to organize an official Juneteenth celebration.
Following its inception, a building was purchased where ECCC could conduct meetings and provide programs for areas residents. Several residents and businesses volunteered time, labor, and donated materials to remodel an old grocery store building.
The board members and volunteers worked many hours conducting fund-raising events and projects to financially support the programs they provided and to reach the monthly mortgage. Because several area businesses and residents, such as Lowell Smith, contributed to the causes of ECCC, the task of fund raising did not take away from the time volunteers spent providing the vital programs and services needed in the community.
In 1991 ECCC became a United Way of Johnson County agency. This additional funding allowed The Center to extend its reach, serving more and more individuals.
Leaving this thriving legacy behind, Rev. Barrett died in 2003. Kirklin Cross remembers the first meeting in 1987 when "the Rev. Barrett made the suggestion for The Community Center and came up with the motto 'Together We Can Make a Difference.' Barrett even found the location for The Center and used that as a beginning point in his vision. When his health got to the point he couldn't walk or drive, his wife would take him to The Community Center. He was not going to give up on The Center and the kids. It was amazing to see his drive. And his wife Mattie would have to hold him up by holding the back of his belt."