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Freedom Days 2008
Juneteenth Monument Lighting
by Jim Guidry and Molly Dannenmaier
Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New Lighting, Plaque, Honoring Galveston Activists Dedicated at Juneteenth Monument  

As part of Galveston’s annual Juneteenth activities, a brief reception and dedication was held on the grounds of Ashton Villa today at 11:15 a.m., marking the installation of a lighting system for the larger-than-life-sized statue commemorating the enactment of Juneteenth as an official Texas state holiday.

The lighting system was underwritten by Drs. Sharon and Ben Raimer in honor of Ennis and Maggie Williams, president and education director respectively of the Old Central Cultural Center, Inc., and active members of Galveston Historical Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee. 

Galveston Historical Foundation Executive Director Dwayne Jones thanked the Raimers and the Williamses.  Listen RealPlayer  MP3

Ennis Williams said that he and Maggie are honored with the recognition.  Listen RealPlayer  MP3

Dr. Ben Raimer said that he and his wife were pleased to recognize Ennis and Maggie. Listen RealPlayer  MP3

Raimer also had praise for Doug Matthews, who organizes the annual Juneteenth event at Ashton Villa. Listen RealPlayer  MP3

Matthews had praise for the Raimers, Ennis and Maggie Williams and State Representative Al Edwards, who sponsored legislation to make Juneteenth a Texas State Holiday. Listen RealPlayer  MP3

The monument, unveiled last year during the Juneteenth activities, marks the recognition of the holiday celebrating the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston on June 19, 1865, for the first time in Texas, officially ending slavery in the state. The date grew to become one of celebration throughout the South, and it became an official Texas holiday in 1979 through the efforts of State Representative Albert (Al) Edwards of Houston. 
Ashton Villa, built in 1859, is a city-owned historic mansion operated as a house museum by GHF.

Guidry News Service is headquartered in Midtown Houston.
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