Lubbock to break ground on Mickey Leland Memorial Plaza on Junet - FOX34 Lubbock

Lubbock to break ground on Mickey Leland Memorial Plaza on Juneteenth

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Lubbock Roots Historical Arts Council will break ground on the Mickey Leland Memorial Plaza on Friday morning. He was a congressman, civil rights activist and humanitarian born in Lubbock. 

"The Mickey Leland Plaza, which is one of our East Lubbock gateway projects that's been in progress for a very long time," Director of Roots, Shirley Green said. 

Several Lubbock Roots board members reiterated why this plaza is so important.

 "We want to recognize it because of the work the Mickey Leland did in his adult life," Cosby Morton said. "He actually died on a trip to Ethiopia to help people."

Because of COVID-19, Lubbock Roots wanted to keep all Juneteenth activities outdoors. 

"I'm reaching out to people encouraging them to come because the Mickey Leland Memorial Plaza is a big deal," JLeon Williams said. "That's bringing a vision into fruition that our founder would be so proud of and I know he's just dancing and singing."

Though the Roots members grew up celebrating on June 19th, some people are just starting to take notice of it. Several companies have made it a paid day off starting this year and Senator John Cornyn has filed a bill to have it observed as a federal holiday.

"I think it should've been done some time ago," Vernita Woods-Holmes said. "But I tell people all the time, you don't miss what you can't measure so now that they know about it, it's time to get on board."

"I think its fantastic because it's something that needs to be noticed," Morton added. "It's a big day, it's like the Fourth of July to us, to the slaves, and to my ancestors, it meant freedom."

Like most holidays, Roots members said food is a tradition.

"The tradition is big red or red soda water, red velvet cake and watermelon which represents the blood that was shed," Morton explained. "I will be doing that as long as I can find someone cooking a cake."

Lubbock Roots will also host a tree planting at the Booker T. Washington Garden tomorrow morning to honor trailblazers in Lubbock's Black community. 

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