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News Release
Tuesday, June 01, 2010

30th Annual Juneteenth Galveston Celebration

GALVESTON, Texas– 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.

For complete information on all of Galveston’s Juneteenth events please visit

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.

Juneteenth History:

Though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives in states under Confederate control.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3.” That day has since become known as Juneteenth. Former slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets with jubilant celebrations.

Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year. Across many parts of the South, freed people pooled their funds to purchase land specifically for their communities’ increasingly large Juneteenth gatherings. Juneteenth celebrations are now held nationwide and include a wide range of festivities, such as parades, street fairs, cookouts, and parties. In 1980 Juneteenth became an official state holiday in Texas. As of March 2010, 36 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or observance.

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