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San Antonio, 1960: A Quiet Revolution

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Seventeen-year-old Mary Lillian Andrews led the local NAACP Youth Council in 1960. When the Texas lunch counter sit-ins started in March, she took swift action. Her request that San Antonio stores integrate their eating places produced the first peaceful, voluntary integration of the national sit-in movement.

But this Civil Rights victory, praised by baseball great Jackie Robinson in the New York Times, didn’t come easy. 1,500 members of the African American community, united by the NAACP and their church pastors, stood ready to protest. It took a day of secret negotiations and the city’s own unique character to produce San Antonio’s “quiet revolution.”

This is the second in a three-video series on the Texas lunch counter sit-ins of 1960. Historic images and recordings recall how seven stores, including Woolworth on Alamo Plaza, integrated on March 16th. African American artist Richard Hunt, already a noted sculptor, describes his experience eating at Woolworth that day.

Meet some of San Antonio’s leading Civil Rights activists and advocates, including Mary Lillian Andrews; Rev. C. Don Baugh; Rev. Claude Black, Jr.; Harry V. Burns; Carlos C. Cadena; S.J. Davis; Rev. Samuel H. James, Jr.; Rabbi David Jacobson; Fr. Erwin Juraschek; Archbishop Robert Lucey; G.J. Sutton; and James E. Taylor, Jr.

This video series, “Woolworth and Civil Rights: A First in the South,” is co-sponsored by the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM). It is also made possible in part by grants from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the World Monuments Fund (WMF).

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these videos do not necessarily represent those at Humanities Texas or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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“Councilman Joe Webb Day” in SA

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The family of Joe Webb, Sr. received a Proclamation from the County and is inviting the community to come out to celebrate “Councilman Joe Webb Day” Sunday, September 18, 2022. There will be a balloon release in honor of his legacy and first year of his death. The celebration will take place at the Joe Webb Bridge at 2:00 p.m.

Former City Councilman Joe Webb was a man of firsts. He was the first African American Manager of an HEB store; he managed Store #7 on New Braunfels Ave. for many years and then worked his way up to Store Director for different areas within the city of San Antonio. Webb eventually opened up his own full-service store called WebbWay on the city’s Eastside. Webb was also the longest serving councilman for District 2. He was elected in 1977 and served in that position until 1991.

At the age of 86, Joe Webb, Sr. passed last year following complications from kidney failure. Webb was a pastor and a devote servant of the Lord. For those who didn’t know him he was also known for his melodious baritone voice.

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Community

The 39th Annual Jazz’SAlive

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SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The City of San Antonio’s Official Jazz Music Festival is ensuring Jazz Is Alive in San Antonio! The San Antonio Parks Foundation, in partnership with The City of San Antonio and Michelob Ultra, present the 39th Annual Jazz’SAlive Festival on September 23 and 24 in downtown San Antonio. In addition to stages in historic Travis Park, for the second consecutive year, festival organizers will program a stage at Legacy Park. The San Antonio Parks Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization providing improvements to parks and the park experience to the area’s 250+ parks and over 150 miles of walking and biking trails.

Jazz’SAlive General Admission is free, all ages, and open to the public! No outside food or beverage is allowed. Tickets are available for premium seating and VIP areas.

Jazz’SAlive offers a limited number of premium Patron Seats at the main stage for those who want to upgrade their viewing experience and leave the lawn chairs at home. Patron Seats are sold as single-day tickets. Fans who wish to have a Patron Seat on both Friday and Saturday will need to purchase a ticket for each day. Each ticket includes 1 priority seat the main stage in Travis Park with access to a cash bar and cocktail service.

For more information visit https://saparksfoundation.org/event/jazzsalive/,

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Art

Introducing Labor Plaza – A Public Art Tribute to the Labor Movement in San Antonio

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DOWNTOWN PLAZA FEATURES SCULPTURES, POETRY AND VISUAL ARTS THAT WILL EDUCATE AND INSPIRE VISITORS.

SAN ANTONIO (September 2, 2022) – The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture invites the community to visit the newly completed Labor Plaza, which highlights the contributions of the labor movement and labor leaders in San Antonio and the United States. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg will be on-site for the official ribbon cutting ceremony which will be held on Monday, September 5, 2022 at 11:45 a.m.

Located in the River Walk Public Art Garden on Market Street across from the Henry B. González Convention Center, Labor Plaza is located in a space that was originally home to a sculpture of labor leader Samuel Gompers, created in 1982 by Betty Jean Alden. Due to irreparable structural damage caused by time and weather elements, the sculpture had to be decommissioned and deinstalled. The Department of Arts & Culture collaborated with American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) on a contemporary way to replace the sculpture and continue to recognize labor, civil rights and social justice in San Antonio in the space.

“Labor Plaza is a tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of labor leaders throughout the history of San Antonio,” said Department of Arts & Culture Executive Director Krystal Jones. “We hope that the community will find this space to be engaging, inspiring and educational as we commemorate the labor movement from the past to the present.”

Visitors to Labor Plaza will find etchings and visual artworks embedded throughout the plaza including a poem titled So that Our Crossing May Never be Obstructed and five artworks by Octavio Quintanilla, San Antonio Poet Laureate 2018 – 2020; an excerpt from labor anthem Solidarity Forever written by Ralph Chaplin in 1915; and biography etchings recognizing eight notable San Antonio labor figures. Influential leaders, who are honored at the space, include Emma Tenayuca, Hank Brown, Rebecca Flores, Joan Suarez, Robert Thompson, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Mario Marcel Salas, Samuel Gompers and Shelley Potter.

In addition, a sculptural series titled I Remember Everything by Washington-based artist Ries Niemi is installed within the plaza. The Department of Arts & Culture worked with San Antonio landscape architect firm Terra Design Group to craft the layout of the space to inspire learning and reflection on labor in San Antonio.

Linda Chavez-Thompson was the first Hispanic woman to serve as an Executive Board member of the National AFL-CIO in 1993 and then elected to a newly created position of Executive Vice-President of the National AFL-CIO in 1995. She served in office thru 2007, when she retired and came back home to San Antonio.  “We are grateful to the City of San Antonio for recognizing the hard-fought efforts and accomplishments of the local labor movement through this beautiful Labor Plaza,” said Chavez-Thompson. “Personally, it is an honor to be included alongside such influential labor leaders, who have all had a tremendous impact on the labor movement so that working people today have better wages and working condition and workers’ rights.” 

Labor Plaza is part of the River Walk Public Art Garden, which functions as an outdoor public art exhibition featuring works from San Antonio and international artists. Some artworks by San Antonio artists also featured here include  “Bloom” by Leticia Huerta, “Green Spaces at Market Street” by Cade Bradshaw and Ashley Mireles, “Spheres of Reflection” by Kaldric Dow and “Najo Jām” by Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza.

For more information about Labor Plaza, the River Walk Public Art Garden and the Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Program, visit SanAntonio.gov/arts or follow the Department of Arts & Culture on social media at @GetCreativeSA.

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