Congressman Mickey Leland to be Posthumously Honored in Lubbock
This upcoming Sunday, November 17, Congressman Mickey Leland will be posthumously honored with a special ceremony, plaque dedication and portrait unveiling in Lubbock. Congressman Leland was born in Lubbock on November 27, 1944, and was killed in a plane crash while traveling on a humanitarian mission to Ethiopia on August 7, 1989.
Sunday's ceremony will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Methodist Church, 2304 Cedar Avenue, followed by a plaque unveiling at Booker T. Washington Park, 2121 Birch Avenue.
Lubbock County administration reports several distinguished guests will be in attendance for Sunday's event: Mrs. Alison Leland, Congressman Leland’s widow; Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, former state senator and Congressman Leland's Chief of Staff; and Texas Tech Chancellor Emeritus Kent Hance, who joined Congress at the same time as Congressman Leland.
Students from Lubbock Independent School District, and Texas Tech University, will make additional presentations.
A special City of Lubbock declaration will be presented by Mayor Dan Pope. Co-chairs of this event are former Lubbock City Councilman T.J. Patterson and current District 2 Lubbock Councilwoman Shelia Patterson Harris. Reverend David Haynes will moderate the event.
Finally, after the conclusion of the activities at the Washington Park, two portraits of Congressman Leland will be unveiled at the Lubbock Roots Historical Arts Council. The portraits were painted by Texas Tech University students.
Biographical Information for Congressman Mickey Leland (pictured, right, with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson):
Congressman Leland was born in a house on East 20th Street in Lubbock and he moved with his mother and brother to Houston's Fifth Ward at a young age.
A University of Houston biography of Leland notes he graduated from Philis Wheatley High School in Houston in 1964. He then attended Texas Southern University in Houston in the late 1960s. Leland graduated from Texas Southern University's School of Pharmacy in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy.
In 1972, Mickey Leland was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, representing the 88th District. He served in the Texas Legislature until 1978.
Congressman Leland was elected in November 1978 to the United States House of Representatives from the 18th Congressional District of Houston, Texas. According to Leland's UofH bio, his Congressional district included the Fifth Ward neighborhood he had grown up in. Leland was chosen Freshman Majority Whip in his first term, and later served twice as At-Large Majority Whip. Leland was re-elected five more times to Congress until his death in August 1989.
While serving in the Texas House, and eventually Congress, Leland became active in a number of civil rights and humanitarian causes. He sought to create the Smithsonian's African American Museum in Washington, served as chair of the congressional black caucus, and chaired a select committee on the homeless.
Both the University of Houston and Texas Southern have permanent programs in place at their respective universities honoring Leland's life and service to Texas, and the United States.