Keeping the Blues Alive
In 2005, the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation received the prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Education from the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennesee. Following is the Blues Foundation’s statement announcing the award to AEBHF for its ongoing educational efforts.
"What began in 1959 as a meeting place for local musicians, the
teaching Blues history in schools, hospitals, festivals, and
libraries. After the death of Piedmont Blues guitarist Archie
Edwards, his barbershop became the center of his wish –- to
keep the stories and guitar licks alive. A foundation was created;
the barbershop was given a facelift; and his longtime friends,
Michel Baytop, Richard “Bones” Thomas, Napoleon Brundage, NJ
Warner, Eleanor Ellis, and Miles Spicer took up Edwards’
Senate Resolution S. 376
On November 20, 2002, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution recognizing the community services of the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation and the importance of the blues in American culture. The resolution also designated November 29, 2002, as Blues Friday and the start of Heritage Appreciation Fortnight.
The resolution describes Archie Edwards as
a self-taught musician whose music was acclaimed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe,
who, for 40 years, provided a haven in the District of Columbia for all those who loved the blues to play, listen,
Maryland General Assembly, Official Citation
In 2018, on the occasion of the organization’s 20th anniversary, the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation was recognized by the Maryland General Assembly for “20 years of preservation of local national and international blues music.”
The Foundation was recognized for its dedication to
preserving Mr. Edwards’ memory and extending the positive influence of his music in the Washington, DC community,” and its commitment to “carrying on Mr. Edward's legacy by maintaining an open forum for people in the community to meet, learn, and share the music he loved;” its support and expansion of “community outreach programs that provide entertainment and promote the blues
to citizens in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and other venues;” and its recognition of the “importance" that the blues has played in our country’s heritage.
African American Heritage Trail
The original Archie’s Barbershop on Bunker Hill Road in Northeast Washington is featured on the African American Heritage Trail of Cultural Tourism DC. Sites are chosen based on their ability to tell multiple stories of African American history and culture. The plaque at the site reads:
Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation/Alpha Tonsorial Palace Site, African American Heritage Trail. Bluesman, teacher, barber, and storyteller Archie Edwards (1918-1998) opened the Alpha Tonsorial Palace barbershop here in 1959. Over the years it became a Saturday afternoon gathering place for aspiring musicians, young and old, African American and white.