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Juneteenth celebration, concerts at Emancipation Park will feature Isley Brothers, Sheila E. and more

Kool & the Gang and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly will also star at the two-day event celebrating the 150th anniversary of Houston's Emancipation Park.

HOUSTON — This year, Houston's Juneteenth celebration in Emancipation Park will be better and bigger than ever because it marks the park's 150-year anniversary. 

The two-day event on Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19, will feature concerts with The Isley Brothers, Sheila E, Kool & The Gang and Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly and along with several gospel stars.

Along with the musical lineup, they will have a kids zone, food and more. 

Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee and Jackie Bostic, the great granddaughter of park founder Jack Yates, announced details back in April.

This year marks the second year Juneteenth will be celebrated as a federal  holiday, but it's been a state holiday in Texas since 1980.

RELATED: Watch full KHOU 11 presentation of 'Juneteenth: 1865-2021'

"I really hope that this holiday is a human holiday that brings many different groups together," said Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. "But the one thing that should be noted is that the federal holiday was born in Texas, given birth in Texas by legislators in Texas listening to Texans."

WATCH: Details released for big Juneteenth celebration in Emancipation Park

Though slavery was abolished in 1863, it wasn’t until two years later, on June 19, 1865, that slaves in Texas first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, which granted them freedom.

As African Americans themselves became landowners, they had more freedom to celebrate as they wished. 

One well-known example was the Rev. Jack Yates, a pastor at Antioch Baptist Church in Houston. In 1872, Rev. Yates helped raise $1,000 to put down on 10 acres of land for future Juneteenth events. They named it Emancipation Park.

"In order for them to work together as a community, they helped to make the community of Houston even a better community than it was, for it was only 30 years old itself at the time," Yates great granddaughter Jackie Bostic said Monday. "This is something that we should all be proud of."

DRONE 11 VIDEO: View over Houston's Emancipation Park

"And it's today, 150 years later, still serving the community, I believe, as its founders intended," said Rich Kinder whose Kinder Foundation is sponsoring the event at the Third Ward park.

Emancipation Park was the first park in Houston and it's one of the oldest parks in Texas.

RELATED: The history behind the holiday: 15 things you may not know about Juneteenth

Because of racial segregation laws, Emancipation Park remained the only city park in Houston where African Americans were allowed until 1939 when Finnegan Park opened.

WATCH: KHOU 11's award-winning special on history of Juneteenth

WATCH: Who was Jack Yates?

Sources: Juneteenth.com; Texas State Historical Association; City of Houston

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