Saturday’s unveiling of the Texas African American History Memorial at the Capitol could have been a somber occasion – a reflection on centuries of slavery and legalized oppression. Instead, it was a moment of rejoicing for the hundreds of guests, who celebrated how so many had overcome deep struggles and how the event appealed to a better future.
State officials and other special guests, including benefactors, revealed the memorial on the south lawn of the Capitol, a feat that comes more than two decades after lawmakers first pushed for the bronze and granite monument to African-Americans in Texas.
“This has not been an easy journey,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a former member of the Texas House who helped secure funding for the memorial. “And I’m not referring to the raising of money or to the construction of this monument. I am talking about the history of African-Americans of the state of Texas and where we are today.”
Turner said that while many often focus on current struggles, it’s important to look back and see how far the state and its residents have come.
The journey “began a long time ago in this state. And look at where we are today. I think that speaks volumes.”
The 27-foot high, 32-foot wide monument depicts Juneteenth – June 19, 1865 – when hundreds of Union troops arrived in Texas and announced the freedom of slaves in the U.S., along with major social, political and cultural icons in the state from years later. The structure also portrays the cattle, cotton and oil industries and black Texans’ role in advancing them. Ed Dwight, a Denver-based sculptor, proposed the monument to mark the history of black people in Texas, a history that pre-dates the United States.
Dwight had three jobs, said Bill Jones, chairman of the Texas African American History Memorial Foundation: create a memorial that is historically accurate, aesthetically pleasing and has emotional impact.
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A number of new officers were name to the Texas Legislative Black Caucus leadership on this week. Chief among them was the election of State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, as chairperson.
“I am honored to have the confidence of my fellow African American legislators to lead the Texas Legislative Black Caucus during this critical time for our state,” said Giddings. “The talents and skills of every member of the TLBC will be utilized to develop an agenda that builds on past successes and confronts the challenges of today.”
Now serving her 11th term, Representative Helen Giddings serves the cities of House District 109: Dallas, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Glenn Heights, Hutchins, Lancaster, Wilmer, as well as part of Duncanville.
Rep. Helen Giddings has a longstanding reputation as being an ardent education and business advocate; and recently lent her concerns over the recently overturned Texas Voter ID law. The statute was struck down by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday.
“Today is a great day for Texas voters and Texas families. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that Texas’ Voter ID law places an unfair and unconstitutional barrier to our democracy,” Rep. Giddings said. “I am thrilled the court declared the right to vote shall not be infringed.”
The stringent Voter ID law passed in 2011 has proven to be an enormous barrier to democracy for Texas’ most vulnerable communities, including college students, the working poor, and the elderly. Some estimates have indicated that up to 700,000 otherwise eligible Texans have lost their right to vote since the law was passed.
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Acclaimed actress and thespian, Lynn Whitfield began her acting career in television and theatre, before progressing to supporting roles in film. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special and a NAACP Image Award for her performance as Josephine Baker in the HBO movie, The Josephine Baker Story. She also won NAACP Image Awards for her work in Touched by an Angel, The Planet of Junior Brown and Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story.
Some of her most revered and notable film roles include performances in, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Eve’s Bayou, The Cheetah Girls, Madea’s Family Reunion, and the Cheetah Girls 2.
She started her illustrious acting career at an early age appearing in the Black Repertory Company in Washington, DC as well as appearing in off-Broadway productions, ultimately receiving early acclaim for her performance in “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” co-starring Alfre Woodard.
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is pleased to have Lynn Whitfield as the Keynote Speaker of the Community Awards Breakfast during the 2015 Summit, where she will also be honored as the recipient of the treasured, TLBC Excellence Award during the TLBC Scholarship Awards Banquet.
You won’t want to miss this!
Ask Yolanda Adams what she loves about her music and ministry. The answer is as warm, embracing, and reflective as her songs. “The music brings joy. I truly believe that my songs bring the answers and the solutions, as opposed to just talking about the problems. My music at its core is joyful.”
Joyful, uplifting, inspiring, affirmative, exuberant, playful, and universal in its appeal and intention – that is the music of Yolanda Adams. The message and ministry of this Grammy-winning Gospel/Adult Contemporary superstar is abundant with love, faith, rhythm, and wisdom. It is delivered by one of the most persuasive and popular voices in contemporary Gospel. Working with some of the biggest names in pop, R&B, hip-hop, and gospel, Yolanda Adams’ career has been marked by a string of hugely successful albums, sold-out tours, standout TV appearances, and a desire to incorporate into her music a multitude of genres and influences.
“It’s vitally important to keep growing now that people know me and my music,” she says. “We’ve been blessed enough to impact so many lives, both in and out of the typical gospel market, so on each album it’s important to keep reaching outward so that even more people can get inspiration from what we do. Luckily, I don’t have to be anybody but Yolanda, because people don’t expect me to be anything other than who I am. For an artist, it’s a great place to be.”
A lifelong resident of Houston, Texas, Yolanda grew up in a household filled with spirit, soul, and songs. Her mother studied music, and Yolanda and her five younger siblings heard everything from jazz to classical to rhythm and blues. She soaked up the sounds of gospel legends James Cleveland and the Edwin Hawkins Singers, jazz icon Nancy Wilson, and pop/R&B great Stevie Wonder. That wide swath of sonic textures, combined with years in the church choir, would guide Yolanda – both as a performer and a person.
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The accomplished Willie Brown is the former Mayor of San Francisco and Speaker of the California State Assembly. Mr. Brown served over 30 years in the California State Assembly including 15 years as Speaker. Following his service in the Assembly, Brown became the 41st Mayor of San Francisco. He is the first African American Mayor of San Francisco and Speaker of the Assembly of California. He also holds the honor as the longest serving Speaker of the California State Assembly. He was referred to as “one of San Francisco’s most notable mayors” by the San Francisco Chronicle and received the title of “The Best Dressed Man in San Francisco” by Esquire Magazine.
Willie Brown’s rise to prominence began in the small East Texas town of Mineola. He was born as the fourth of five children. With a desire to have the skills to reach his full potential, Brown felt his high school education was substandard and opted to leave Mineola for California following his graduation. Upon moving to San Francisco in 1951, he attended and graduated from San Francisco State University in 1955, despite having to catch up his first year due to subpar secondary schooling. After graduating from San Francisco State University, he then went on to graduate from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1958.
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Dr. Kneeland C. Youngblood , who currently resides in Dallas and was born in Galena Park, is co-founder and managing partner of Pharos Capital Group, a private equity fund with over $1.4 Billion in assets under management. Since Pharos Capital Group’s founding in 1998, the investment firm has focused on investing in undercapitalized businesses in underserved regions across America. Prior to a successful career in investment banking, Dr. Youngblood served as a physician with more than 15 years of experience in emergency medicine. While in the medical field, Dr. Youngblood served on the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in President Clinton’s administration.
As a young man attending Princeton University, Youngblood followed his convictions by participating in a sit-in calling for Princeton to divest from apartheid-South Africa. Later in life, he would go on to meet President Nelson Mandela in his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Enrichment Corporation.
After embarking on his successful business career, Dr. Youngblood has been involved in many profitable ventures. In addition, his business acumen and knowledge have come to the recognition of many Fortune 500 companies, as indicated with his service on the Board of Directors of companies such as The Gap, Inc., Burger King Corporation, Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and the American Beacon Funds.
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It is with a heavy heart that the Texas Legislative Black Caucus mourns the passing of one of the most iconic and transformative civil rights activists the world has ever seen, former South African President Nelson Mandela at the age of 95.
Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, fought tirelessly to ensure that we as a human race, both aspired to and brought about the reality of equality, in his native of South Africa and on a much larger scale, the world at large. As a man willing to sacrifice for his convictions; his humility, grace, steeled determination and vision never wavered, even as he endured more than 27 years of imprisonment solely for his ideals to make South Africa a truly free and open society for all.
His contributions so vast and comprehensive that they include the peaceful transition from an Apartheid South African government into a functioning, inclusive democratic government, which is the true hallmark of his genius.
Few others in history have ever made the impact on the world that he has. Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Mandela all shared the mantle of true statesman & humanitarians in the pantheon of great leaders.
Fortunately enough, members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus were able to visit South Africa recently to see up close, how Mandela has helped make the country a “Rainbow Nation”.
While we will cherish the memory and legacy that Mandela has left, let us never forget what Mandela taught us, which is that we can never rectify the injustices in our society without great sacrifice, persistence, and a tireless dedication to what is right & just.
Texas Legislative Black Caucus Commends NAACP, Mexican American Legislative Caucus and Civil Rights Groups Actions to Challenge Voter ID Law
(Austin, TX) – The Texas Legislative Black Caucus applauds today’s move by the NAACP State Branches of Texas and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) to join the Department of Justice, LULAC, Dallas County, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and a concerned group of affected citizens across Texas in filing suit in the Southern District Court of Texas in Corpus Christi to block the State of Texas’ Voter ID law because of its discriminatory effects in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The move by the State Branches of the NAACP and MALC to join the assembled collection of high-profile stalwarts for civil rights, signifies that the battle is not over – but rather, the fight to ensure the ability for all in Texas to vote has intensified.
In the suit filed today in the Southern District of Texas’ Federal Court, the Texas NAACP and MALC joined the other plaintiffs including the Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in arguing the Voter ID law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, because the law makes it harder for hundreds of thousands of minority citizens to vote, thus denying minority voters an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus fought alongside MALC & the NAACP victoriously in the Washington, D.C. Federal Court in 2012, when the Voter ID law was struck down by the D.C. Court (under Section 5 preclearance) due to its discriminatory effect. The Court concluded the Voter ID law would lead to “retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.” We look forward to our partners continuing the fight for justice and once again prevailing victoriously to guarantee the rights of all as cemented in the 14th & 15th Amendments as well as the Voting Rights Act.
Texas Legislative Black Caucus Town Hall Meeting
July 24, 2013 from 6:30p to 8:30p
McCoy Auditorium at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs on the Texas Southern University Campus
On Wednesday, July 24th from 6:30p to 8:30p, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus will host a Town Hall meeting in the McCoy Auditorium (Room 114) of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs of the Texas Southern University Campus located at 3100 Cleburne (Tierwester & Cleburne). The Texas Legislative Black Caucus has partnered with the KEY PAC, Houston Sun, Houston Forward Times, Majic 102 FM, KTSU Radio, KCOH 1230AM Radio and the Texas Southern University – School of Public Affairs.
The Town Hall meeting will provide unprecedented access to African American members of the Texas Legislature from the Houston-area as we cover topics such as the 83rd Session, the recent Supreme Court decision striking down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act and the impact on Texas, in particular on Voter ID, and the Trayvon Martin verdict.
This meeting will provide a unique opportunity for members of the community to discuss the 83rd Session, as well as how recent Supreme Court actions will have an impact on them. In addition, we want to have a discussion with the community on what lies ahead after the Trayvon Martin verdict. Further, we encourage and will provide an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions to members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus for a fulfilling, in-depth exchange benefitting all those in attendance with the most current information on the important recent actions which will impact their lives.
We encourage you to attend, it will be well worth your time.
For more information, contact Murry Matthews or Alison Brock at 1.866.885.8900 or 512.463.0554.
WHO: Texas Legislative Black Caucus Members
WHAT: Town Hall meeting to discuss the 83rd Texas Legislature, the recent Supreme Court decision striking down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act and the impact on Texas in particular on Voter ID, and the Trayvon Martin verdict
WHERE: McCoy Auditorium (Room 114)
Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs
Texas Southern University Campus
3100 Cleburne (Tierwester & Cleburne)
Houston, TX 77004
WHEN: July 24th from 6:30p to 8:30p
WHY: To give unprecedented access to the community and press in order to provide an opportunity to discuss with and ask questions regarding the 83rd Session, as well as the recent Supreme Court decision striking down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, and the Trayvon Martin case
The Texas Legislative Black Caucus truly appreciates all of the great people in attendance at the 2013 African American Legislative Summit. As native Texans and new friends from South Africa gathered for an amazing time, over 3,000 attendees were present during the 2013 African American Legislative Summit. From highly acclaimed international guests, rising young leaders from across the United States, and world-class comedians and performers; the Summit was a sight no one wanted to miss! Most importantly, none of this was possible without all of the wonderful people in attendance and for that the Texas Legislative Black Caucus thanks you dearly! Thanks again for all your kind support and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2015!!
Check out some of the pictures below from the 2013 African American Legislative Summit!
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Join Us at Nelson Mandela International Day on Thursday, July 18, 2013 from 4p to 6p in the State Fair Hall of State located at 3939 Grand Avenue in Fair Park, Dallas TX. FREE TO THE PUBLIC.
On July 18th, North Texans will join the world to salute one of history’s most revered human rights activists, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his efforts to end South African apartheid. Prisoner 46664 (Nelson Mandela) spent much of that time in the Robben Island facility. Following his release, in South Africa’s first free election, he was voted President of the new democratic country.
In 2009, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 18th as Nelson Mandela International Day.
State Representative Helen Giddings is proudly leading the effort in Texas this year. Helen is the Honorary Consul from South Africa to Texas. South African Ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Ebrahim Rasool, has appointed Ms. Giddings to head up the celebration. The day is called, “It’s In Your Hands” and will encourage a call to service for all Texans. Everyone is asked to volunteer 67 minutes of their day, on July 18th, to volunteer to help others. An ambitious goal of 1 million volunteer minutes has been established for North Texas. For 67 years, Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Peace prize winner, devoted his life to the service of humanity as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
Here in North Texas, the day will be filled with public service followed by a rousing celebration and salute to organizations and volunteers at the State Fair Hall of State in Dallas. The celebration is designed to inspire all people to embrace the values shared by Nelson Mandela.
Come out and join us, as we celebrate the legacy of a true living legend.
The event, which is free to the public, will be on Thursday, July 18th from 4p to 6p in the State Fair Hall of State, located at 3939 Grand Avenue in Fair Park, Dallas TX.
For more information, please contact: Rochelle Brown, 214.476.3579 or Brandalyn Rodgers, 972.224.6795.
Make sure to register now, so that you can join us for the Comedy Showcase hosted by J. Anthony Brown and the cast of four talented comedians on Monday, February 25th from 8:30p to 10:30p during the 2013 African American Legislative Summit.
J. Anthony Brown, famous for his trademark catchphrase “Watch Out Deh Now” hoas been honing comedic craft for over 40 years now. A winner of the prestigious Peabody Award, as well as the NAACP Image Award, J. Anthony Brown has been a writer for the Arsenio Hall Show, Steve Harvey’s Big Time, Me & the Boys, and the Parent ‘Hood, among others. In addition to the awards and TV writing credits you may have seen him as host during two seasons of BET’s Comic View, as well as performing on Def Comedy Jam, It’s Showtime at the Apollo, Evening at the Improv, Martin, Moesha, Livin’ Single, and even Oprah. On the big screen, his movie credits include XXX-State of the Union, Mr. 3000, Drumline & How to Be a Player.
Over the airwaves, you can catch J. Anthony Brown on the Tom Joyner Morning Show as he helps wake up millions of radio listeners in over 195 markets. In addition, you can catch him on the new hit TV One sitcom, “The Rickey Smiley Show”.
While his media pursuits place him second to none, J. Anthony Brown is also an innovative business man. From his own clothing line, “The J Anthony Brown Collection” to his comedy spot, “The J. Anthony Brown Comedy Store ” in Los Angeles; he is truly a man whose talent knows no bounds.
Last but not least, J. Anthony Brown is a man who gives back to the community. After losing both parents to complications from diabetes and then being diagnosed with the condition as well, he made it his crusade to help combat this widespread affliction in the African American community. With the founding of the J. Anthony Brown Foundation, he is doing his part to help educate and assist children aged 6 through 17 who are diagnosed with diabetes in his native South Carolina. Not only this, J. Anthony is keenly aware of when the community at large is in need of help. Following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, he responded to the crisis by helping to rebuild the community. As recognition for his tireless efforts, he was awarded the prestigious Peabody Award in addition to a NAACP Image Award.
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The 2013 African American Legislative Summit is almost here! You won’t want to miss next year’s event. The African American Legislative Summit, which is sponsored by HEB, will take place from Sunday evening, Feb. 24th through Tuesday afternoon, February 26th. The theme of the upcoming Conference is “the building of our Community starts with me”. With an expected 4,000 attendees, the 2013 Summit is slated to be better than ever.
We are proud to announce that the keynote speaker at the Scholarship Awards Banquet on Monday, February 25th will be none other than the young, bright, innovative and accomplished Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed.
2013 African American Legislative Summit Details
The Conference will kick off on Sunday evening, February 24th with the Black-tie invitation only, Chairman’s Dinner at the Hilton Hotel Downtown in Austin. On Monday morning, the Conference will begin in earnest in the House Chamber at the State Capitol. Following the opening plenary session, we will have a series of riveting panel discussions in the Capitol, then a luncheon on the Capitol Grounds. After the lunch, the Conference will shift to our host site, the beautiful Hilton Hotel in Downtown Austin where we will have dignitaries and noted celebrities to bring you even more stimulating panels and discussions. Later that evening, the TLBC Scholarship Awards Banquet will commence in the Hilton Hotel Ballroom, where we will honor the 2013 TLBC Scholarship Recipients. On Tuesday morning, the well-received Community Awards Banquet takes place at the Hilton Hotel and then the Conference wraps up with our final series of panels at the Hotel. With the roster of noted personalities and events planned, this Summit will be one to remember!
Chairman’s Award Dinner honoring Milton Carroll
The Chairman’s Award Dinner honoring Milton Carroll, underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield & CenterPoint Energy, will take place at 7p on Sunday, February 24th at the picturesque Bob Bullock State History Museum a mere 3 blocks away from the State Capitol. This invitation-only black-tie affair, will honor the multitude of achievements of Mr. Milton Carroll. An innovator in the Oil & Gas industry, Mr. Carroll also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at CenterPoint Energy, Inc. & Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. A native Texan, the accomplishments of Mr. Carroll’s stellar business career are second to none. He is well deserving of this token of appreciation by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus for his inspirational achievements as an African American business man, who has excelled in a variety of endeavors in the business world. The Texas Legislative Black Caucus proudly salutes a fellow trailblazer at the inaugural Chairman’s Award Dinner.
Host Site- Hilton Hotel Info & Reservations
For your convenience, a very special room rate of $199/night is available for Sunday, February 24th and Monday, February 25th for a limited time only at the Hilton Hotel (a savings of $130), so please take advantage now. Room reservations at the Hilton Hotel Downtown for Sunday, February 24th and/or Monday, Feb. 25th are available now online at: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/TexasLegislativeBlackCaucus. If you are interested in a multi-night stay at the Hilton Hotel, please call 800.445.8667 (make sure to mention Group Code: TLB) and they can handle your reservation.
Stay tuned for more updates and we look forward to seeing you there!
For questions, please email: email@example.com.
With a new year quickly approaching, the 83rd Texas Legislative Session is almost here. And that means the 2013 African American Legislative Summit will be here shortly as well.
So please join us at the 2013 African American Legislative Summit from Feb. 24th through Feb. 26th, at the State Capitol and our host site, the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Austin.
Next year’s Conference will be better than ever, as we have assembled an array of talented, accomplished and notable personalities that will be in attendance.
Please click here for free registration to attend the 2013 African American Legislative Summit.
2013 African American Legislative Summit Details
The 2013 Conference, sponsored by HEB, will kick off on Sunday, Feb. 24th with the invitation-only, Black-tie, Chairman’s Award Dinner honoring Mr. Milton Carroll. The Chairman’s Award Dinner, which is underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas & Centerpoint, Inc. will take place at the Hilton Hotel Downtown on Sunday evening, Feb. 24th. We are pleased to announce that in addition to honoring Milton Carroll and his notable business achievements, we will also have a special performance by noted Gospel artist and native Texan, Yolanda Adams.
On Monday morning, Feb. 25th the Conference will begin in earnest at the State Capitol as we will begin with an opening plenary session in the House Chamber, then continue with panel discussions at the Capitol that morning. Following the first set of riveting panel discussions, we will have a luncheon on the Capitol Grounds hosted by Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, and the Texas Legislative Black Caucus.
After lunch, the action shifts to our host site, the Hilton Hotel Downtown for more riveting and stimulating panels that will be sure to invigorate the interests of all those in attendance.
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Recently in July, members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus as well as MALC, hosted a panel discussion on Civil Rights with a group of 23 young and upcoming international leaders on a trip to Austin organized by the U.S. State Department. The panel was hosted by the very own, Dr. King Davis, who is Director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis at UT Austin, and featured Rep. Senfronia Thompson from Houston, as well as, Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway from Dallas, and Rep. Elliott Naishtatt from Austin.
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On June 15, 2012, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the Texas Black Expo joined together and celebrateda well-received event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston. This well-needed event brought small African American business owners, corporations, state agencies, community organizations, investment firms and State Representatives together so they could have an informative and beneficial exchange. The goal of the event was to help to highlight African American businesses so they could take advantage of fruitful business opportunities.
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