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Join in on Juneteenth Celebration Events
by Douglas Matthews
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This year, on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Ashton Villa on 23rd Street and Broadway, we will be celebrating the 31st Annual Al Edwards’ Juneteenth Emancipation Proclamation Reading and Prayer Breakfast. The complimentary breakfast is sponsored by the generosity of Tilman Fertitta, owner of Landry’s Restaurants and The San Luis Hotel, which he has been doing for the past seven years.

Landry’s vice president for government and Galveston City Council member Steve Greenberg will be presenting the Landry’s 2010 Juneteenth Award to Galveston County Commissioner Stephen Holmes for his dedicated public service.

Edwards will be presenting former Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, Maggie and Ennis Williams with the Juneteenth Lifetime Achievement Award, along with 2010 Juneteenth Emancipator Award recipients: Mary Patrick, Galveston Independent School District special services director; Sterling Patrick, city of Galveston grants and housing director; Barbara Sanderson, city of Galveston parks and recreation director; Steve LeBlanc, city manager; council member Dr. Linda Colbert; and council member Tarris Woods.

The Historic Ashton Villa was built in 1858-59 and is the first of Galveston’s Broadway “palaces,” as well as the first brick house to be built in Texas. It once served as the headquarters for the Confederate Army and later the Union Army where Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger resided during his stay in Galveston in 1865.

Ashton Villa also is the home of the Texas Juneteenth Lawmaker Statue dedicated to Texas House Bill 1016, which made June 19 a state holiday in June 1979 and the first official black holiday in the United States.

The Al Edwards’ Ashton Villa celebration is the longest and continuous Juneteenth celebration on Galveston Island and the event is free and open to the public. Please come join us on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at 2328 Broadway.

Douglas Matthews is chairman of the State Juneteenth Advisory Committee.

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