It’s been a sad week in Houston as locals are mourn the loss of a local leader Al Edwards, known in the Houston community affectionately as “Mr. Juneteenth.”
Houston Mayor Sylvestor Tuner honored Al Edwards who passed away this week. On his social media page, the Mayor posted a video commemoration, recognizing Edwards for his nearly 3 decades of service within the Houston community.
Albert Ely Edwards, a native Houstonian, was one of 6 kids. He attended Wheatley High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University. He was a realtor and mortgage broker.
He was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement and participated in peaceful marches across the country with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Jesse Jackson. In the 1990’s, he would serve on the as State Chairman for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s campaign for President of the United States.
He first officially became a politician in 1978 and served 13 terms as an elected member of the Texas House of Representatives.
In 1979, he founded “Juneteenth.” Edwards composed and sponsored House Bill 1016, that would make June 19 (“Juneteenth”) a state paid holiday for Texas. becoming a local politician, serving in the Texas Legislature representing District 146.
He was Chairman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus from 1991-1997 and was invited numerous times to the White House during the Clinton administration era. Edwards served as Chairman of the Democrative National Committee Black Caucus for 6 years and was Vice-Chairman for 10.
Edwards always lived in Houston and served on some of the most influential committees for local budgets that would aid the underserved, as well as appropriations committees.
He passed legislation to recognize the abolition of slavery in TX as an annual holiday, earning him the nickname “Mr. Juneteenth.” Please keep his family & friends in your prayers today as he is laid to rest..Mayor Sylvestor Turner Facebook page
Al Edwards was appointed Chairman of Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Cultural and Historical Commission by then Governor George Bush in 1999.
Edwards died of natural causes April 29, 2020. He was 83.
Today the Mayor spoke at “A Home going Celebration” for Edwards.