A beloved Texas — and indeed, national — figure will soon have a banner moment in Houston. The City of Houston will unveil “Ann Banners” to commemorate the 30th anniversary of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards’ inauguration, beginning September 23 .
Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, and other notables will mark the occasion on Thursday, September 23 at 10:15 am at the intersection of downtown Dallas and Austin Streets. The group will highlight the 50 banners that will be on display and discuss Gov. Richards’ life and legacy.
These “Ann Banners” were first unfurled last spring in downtown Austin and can now be seen in downtown Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
The banners feature images of the beloved governor throughout her life, as well as quotes that reflect her fiery character and commitment to “make government look like the people of Texas,” according to press materials.
Notably, it’s not city funds but rather private contributions raised locally that bankrolled this project — via the Ann Richards Legacy Project, an Austin-based nonprofit that launched the banners concept in Austin.
Possessing an acerbic wit and passion for fair play for all — not to mention a penchant for one-liners — Richards was elected twice as Travis County Commissioner, twice as Texas State Treasurer, and later the 45th governor of Texas.
She is remembered in part for appointing an unprecedented number of women, people of color, Texans with disabilities, and LGBTQ community members to Texas boards and commissions, her bio notes.
A mother of four and grandmother of eight, Richards also championed Texas prison reform, the environment, the arts, and even hosted Queen Elizabeth II of England and the Duke of Edinburgh.
A one-woman play based on her life, dubbed simply Ann, received rave reviews during its 2011 run at the Kennedy Center.