Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Galveston Island and the Juneteenth Coalition remember this holiday with a series of celebrations held June 12- June 20.
“Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day,” said Ennis Williams, Juneteenth Coalition member. “It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience.”
Festivities begin with Gospel by the Sea on June 12 at Moody Gardens. The concert features NuFocus of Dallas, Texas for this annual family friendly island event. Other Juneteenth activities include a scholarship gala, African-American Heritage Exhibits at the Old Central Cultural Center, and Underground Railroad re-enactments hosted by the Galveston Historical Foundation.
The official day of Juneteenth, June 19, will begin at Rosenberg Library with a prayer reading and Juneteenth Flag raising ceremony by nationally known Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign. Following the flag ceremony, the Emancipation Proclamation reading and prayer breakfast will be held at Ashton Villa to commemorate the historic event that occurred in Galveston, two years after it was enacted in 1863.
A Jubilee parade and picnic continue the special events at Wright Cuney Park, 41st St. and Ball. The 5th Annual Juneteenth Springfellow Orchards Family Day in Hitchcock takes place throughout the afternoon of June 19 with entertainment for the whole family.
Galveston’s Juneteenth celebration concludes with a Galveston Gathering picnic on Sunday, June 20 at Kempner Park, 27th St. and Avenue O.
Galveston holds the distinction of being the place of the first reading of the Proclamation in the South. Texas State Representative Al Edwards sponsored two legislative bills establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday.
African American tributes don’t stop with Juneteenth. The legendary boxer Jack Johnson will also be honored this year in Galveston. The 100th anniversary of “the fight of the century,” between Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries, will be celebrated with a showing of Ken Burns documentary "Unforgivable Blackness" on July 4 at Old Central Cultural Center.
The History of Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society. - compliments of Juneteenth.com
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