Birthplace of Juneteenth Celebrates Emancipation with Festivities in Galveston
GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas (June 9, 2016) – When you head to Galveston this month, you’ll be coming home where it all began as the island hosts several days of festivities to celebrate Juneteenth – a holiday that originated in this historic beach town.
This year marks the 151st anniversary of Juneteenth, which will be celebrated with parades, festivals, picnics, African-American heritage exhibits, reenactments, concerts and more.
On June 18, the island will host two Juneteenth parades – one beginning at noon at 26th and Winnie and ending at 41st and Ball streets – and the other beginning at 7 p.m. at 20th and Strand, ending at 28th and Avenue Q. Both parades will feature festive floats, entertainers and bands. The evening parade will end with a fireworks show.
New this year, the island will host the inaugural Galveston Crawfish Festival June 17-19 at the Kermit Courville Stadium parking lot as part of its Juneteenth festivities. The event will include crawfish and food vendors, a Kid’s Zone and live music from Zydeco and blues artists. For details, visit http://gccrawfishfestival.com.
Finally, the Galveston Juneteenth Coalition will host the 37th annual Al Edwards Emancipation Proclamation Reading and Prayer Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on June 18 at the historic Ashton Villa – the location of the island’s official Juneteenth monument. And, Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church will commemorate the first known Juneteenth celebration in U.S. history at 11 a.m. June 19 with its annual march from the steps of the Old Galveston County Courthouse to the church at 2015 Broadway Ave. The public is welcome to participate.
More than 20 events will take place throughout June for Galveston’s 2016 Juneteenth celebration. For a list of upcoming events, visit www.galveston.com/juneteenth.
Many people think slavery ended on September 22, 1862 – the date Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In reality, many slaves weren’t freed until much later when news of the proclamation reached their towns. The last of those slaves lived in the South and were freed on June 19, 1865 after the Emancipation Proclamation was read on a harbor pier in Galveston, Texas. This date eventually became known as “Juneteenth.” While celebrations were long held in Galveston and various parts of the country in earlier years, Texas lead the way in making Juneteenth an official state holiday in 1980.Today, Juneteenth is celebrated in more than 40 states throughout the country.
About Galveston Island
Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country. For more information on Galveston Island visit www.galveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.