Clay County African-American Legacy Inc. celebrated the 140th anniversary of the founding of Garrison School at its annual Juneteenth Celebration in Liberty.
A crowd of more than 130 attended the event and fundraiser, which was held in the century-old, red brick building on Water Street in Liberty.
The event also celebrated Juneteenth, a nationwide celebration commemorating June 19, 1865, when slaves in Texas first learned they were free, even though the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed previously by Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.
Three awards were given during the program:
▪ Response to the Call Award to Liberty Police Chief James Simpson, who was honored for his successful efforts to recruit two new African-American police officers.
▪ Education Award to Wendy Smith, a seven-year volunteer with two Legacy programs: Lions and Unicorns Reading Program; and Advanced Studies Educational Mentoring, a program for high school students.
▪ Legacy Award to Fellowship of the Concerned, a community organization formed in the 1960s in response to racial turmoil, for its “commitment to reducing racial barriers and building relationships.”
The Legacy group also recognized Dobbe Dobberstine for his work to raise more than $150,000 in in-kind donations for improvements at the century-old Garrison School.
“We raised $17,000, and it is a phenomenal example of our community uniting to help preserve Garrison School, a historic African-American treasure in Clay County established in 1877 that is listed on both the local and national register of historic places,” said Cecelia Robinson, historian for Clay County African-American Legacy Inc.
The mission of the group is “to preserve and share the heritage and contribution that the African-American has made to the large community historically and to be able to educate our community about the contributions the African-Americans have made to Liberty and Clay County,” said AJ Byrd, president of the organization.
“We continue to need financial support from the community to sustain this building and the programs we operate from it,” said Byrd, adding that the community can visit the group’s website, ccaal-garrisonschool.org, for more information.