Mayor's Office Press Release
Statements from the Edwards Family and Mayor Turner on the Death of Former State Rep. Al Edwards
April 29, 2020 -- Today, former State Representative Al Edwards passed away. The Edwards' family statement is below, followed by a statement from Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Edwards family statement
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce that former District 146 State Rep. and Civil Rights Leader, Al Edwards Sr. died today from natural causes. He was an ordained minister, father, and grandfather that notably sponsored the legislation making Juneteenth the first legal Texas state holiday for African Americans. He was a proud graduate of Phyllis Wheatley High School and Texas Southern University. He will be sorely missed by all who loved him. He was 83 years old."
Mayor Sylvester Turner
"The Honorable Al Edwards worked tirelessly for the people of House District 146 and the state of Texas. During nearly three decades in the Texas House, he served with distinction on several influential committees. In 1979, in the face of considerable opposition, Edwards passed legislation to recognize the abolition of slavery in Texas as an annual holiday, earning him the well-deserved nickname "Mr. Juneteenth."
"As a former chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, Edwards was instrumental in getting the Texas African American History Memorial installed on the Texas State Capitol grounds in Austin.
"Edwards and I served together in the Texas Legislature for more than two decades, and during that time, he became like a brother to me. I deeply loved him. And I will miss him greatly.
"On July 28, 2018, I had the honor of proclaiming Albert E. “Al” Edwards Day in the city of Houston.
"Because of the COVID-19 public health crisis, his family and many friends will not be able to gather in person for a memorial service. But make no mistake, Al deserves a grand celebration for his lifetime of achievements.
"I look forward to honoring my friend and brother at the appropriate time"