More than a hundred Texoman’s filled the Luby’s banquet hall tonight to honor some of Wichita Falls’ finest African-American leaders.
The celebration, put on by Nelson Lodge Number 40 AF and AM Masons, was a way to gather in friendship, and cap off Black History Month.
Food, friends, family and music was the scene inside of the Luby’s Cafeteria..
“A lot of times, a lot of people don’t know the history of what’s going on in Wichita Falls, and we want to share it with the public,” said event coordinator, Charles Lyday. “Letting them know that there are people here, and there are other people that are deserving but we can’t get them all at once. But we thought about these three.”
One of the honoree’s, Ervin Garnett Sr., or better know as coach Garnett.
His legendary football career led Wichita Falls ISD to name its football field after him–the Ervin Garnett Stadium.
“I think everybody knows coach Garnett,” Lyday said. “He’s coached some state championship teams, he’s been put in the Hall of Fame honor.”
Arthur Bea Williams is an icon, serving as a former Wichita County Justice of the Peace and as Wichita Falls City Councilor At Large.
“Arthur Bea Williams. She’s one of our honoree’s and she’s a great city leader and I think everybody knows her,” Lyday said. “She’s been a Mayor Pro-Tem.”
Williams was inducted in the North Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, and was named 2001 Wichitan of the Year.
And lastly, Roberta Farris, who had many of her third grade students in attendance.
Farris was the first African-American teacher in Electra and is one of the most senior educators in the nation, at the age of 110.
“That’s kind of remarkable,” Lyday said. “We wanted to try and give her her light before anything happens. We’re just happy to share it.”
Lyday and so many others just want these three icon’s to know just how much they have done for their city.
“They lit the torch for us in Wichita Falls and we want to share the light so that everybody can keep the torch lit.”