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Virtual March to Juneteenth – June 19, 2020

Today is Juneteenth!  Friday, June 19th, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On this day in 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to announce to the people of Texas that the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 had freed all slaves.

Juneteenth became an official Texas state holiday in 1980 and its celebration has since spread across the country.  On this day, people of all races and ethnicities are invited to come together to celebrate African American history and achievement, draw inspiration, and peacefully renew a shared quest for liberty and justice for all.

From June 3 to June 19th, we have featured San Antonians speaking out about the significance of the Woolworth Building, an endangered Civil Rights landmark on Alamo Plaza. Through this lens, we can see how far we have come as a community, voluntarily changing unjust policies in 1960 that barred African Americans from sitting down and being served at public lunch counters.  However, we also see how far we have to go.

Our city’s rich Black history is not well represented in our public places and that needs to change, particularly by preserving the Woolworth Building across from the Alamo.  You can help this cause and honor Black history by contacting the government officials listed on our Call to Action page.

Save the Woolworth Video 8 – June 19, 2020

Mrs.Deborah Omowale Jarmon, executive director of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM), recounts how her mother worked behind a Woolworth’s lunch counter, but couldn’t eat at one, and why San Antonio’s lunch counter history matters.

Many thanks to Deborah for her help in organizing this “video march” and to all the participants!

Previous Videos

Dr. Vincent Michael, the Conservation Society’s executive director, talks about the Woolworth Building’s listing on the World Monuments Fund’s 2020 Watch List. Woolworth’s is one of 25 international sites selected by team of cultural heritage experts for global preservation advocacy.

Working with the World Monuments Fund, the Coalition for the Woolworth Building continues striving to convince the stakeholders reimagining Alamo Plaza to preserve this important Civil Rights landmark as a museum.  You can help by contacting the government officials listed on our Call to Action page.

June 17, 2020 – Video 6

Mr. Jarmon is a native San Antonian who visited the Woolworth Building as a boy, both before and after the store became the first Woolworth’s to voluntarily integrate its lunch counter during the national sit-its.  He describes it as, “a formidable place in Black history.”

As Mr. Jarmon says, “Black history is relevant to history everywhere,” connecting to events that have shaped our state and nation.  At no other downtown destination does that history converge more powerfully than in the multiple historic sites surrounding Alamo Plaza.

June 15, 2020 – Video 5

Conservation Society member Anne Ferguson explains why the Woolworth Building is socially relevant and should be preserved.   It’s “a hugely important cause to support and one that anyone can help rally behind,” she says.  Help save this Civil Rights landmark by contacting the government officials listed on our Call to Action page.

Color postcard looking west on Houston Street from Alamo Plaza. Woolworth Building on left.

On March 16, 1960, the Woolworth’s across from the Alamo helped San Antonio become the site of the first peaceful, voluntary lunch counter integration of the national sit-in movement. Learn more: at a glance or a take a deep dive into our symposium.

Color Portrait of Mary Lillian Andrews
Mary Lillian Andrews

What became a historic achievement during a time of national turmoil started with a letter written by Mary Lillian Andrews, a 17-year-old college freshman at Our Lady of the Lake.  She also served as president of the San Antonio Branch NAACP Youth Council.

The Woolworth Building is one of 25 international sites (and just one of three in the U.S.) on the World Monuments Fund’s 2020 Watch list.

 

 

Previous Videos

June 11, 2020 – Video 4

Mya’s grandfather worked for several variety stores on Alamo Plaza, including Woolworth’s. This building is important to her family and to our city’s history. You can help Mya save this Civil Rights landmark by contacting the government officials listed on our Call to Action page.

June 8, 2020 – Video 3

Haven’t heard about San Antonio’s role in Civil Rights history before? You’re not alone. Felicity Rich and her daughter, Felicity Rich Michael, want to change that by saving the Woolworth Building.

June 5, 2020 – Video 2

Mrs. Maria Greene is a member of the San Antonio Branch NAACP and the Conservation Society.  Here, she recalls the courage of Mary Lillian Andrews, the college freshman who wrote letters to the managers of stores in downtown San Antonio, asking that they desegregate their lunch counters in March 1960.

June 3, 2020 – Video 1

We are honored to start the series with Mrs. Dorothy Collins.  Mrs. Collins is one of the first African American teachers to have integrated the faculty of San Antonio’s public schools.

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