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How to celebrate Juneteenth in Houston, Galveston and other nearby cities

Galveston is the birthplace of Juneteenth, but it's now celebrated across the nation.

HOUSTON — There was cheering and singing and dancing on June 19, 1865, when slaves in Galveston learned they were finally free. The announcement by Union General Gordon Granger came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became official in 1863.

Galveston-area families celebrated the Juneteenth anniversary in the following years with gatherings, large and small.

As the celebrations grew and spread across the state, Texas led the way, making Juneteenth an official state holiday in 1980.

Here are some ways to celebrate Juneteenth on Friday in Galveston, Houston and other areas around the city.


In Galveston, Juneteenth events will be scaled back because of coronavirus restrictions. Typically celebrated with a parade, festivals and pageants, this year's events will center around memorializing the late Texas State Rep. Al Edwards who introduced legislation that made Juneteenth a state holiday. Edwards died in April.

A memorial service will be held in his honor on Friday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the grounds of Ashton Villa at 2328 Broadway. His family will be in attendance. The Galveston Historical Foundation in cooperation with the University of Texas Medical Branch will live stream the event here.

RELATED: The history of Juneteenth: 15 things you may not know

RELATED: These states now recognize Juneteenth, but what are their other holidays?


Emancipation Park

In 1872, a group led by the Rev. Jack Yates, a former slave, raised $1,000 to buy 10 acres of land for their Juneteenth celebration in Houston. They named it Emancipation Park.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Emancipation Park Conservancy is celebrating Juneteenth with several virtual events.

10 a.m. Back Down Memory Lane: Juneteenth Virtual Parade; watch on Facebook.

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Juneteenth Story Jam: watch on Facebook.

12:00 p.m. #WAJ is Reflection: Phylicia Rashad; watch on Facebook.

2:00 p.m.– 5:00 p.m. We Are One Celebration; watch on Facebook.

6:00 p.m. Good Cookin’ for the Soul; watch on Facebook.

7:30 p.m. -  Juneteenth Vibes with DJ Flash Gordon Parks Instagram Live; watch on Instagram.

RELATED: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn will file bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

Emancipation Park Conservancy launched a three-week virtual celebration of Juneteenth 2020 that ends on Friday. The #WEAREJUNETEENTH highlights the African-American experience, including history, heritage and traditions. The digital platform shares the history of African Americans who helped shape culture and society, as well as the impact they continue to have.

A virtual and audio tour of Emancipation Park is also available online.

BLM Juneteenth Bike Ride

The free bike ride to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement begins Friday at 7 p.m. at Guadalupe Park Plaza in the 2300 block of Runnels St. They’ll ride 6 to 8 miles on an undisclosed route. There will be a midpoint to listen to speakers before returning to the plaza. Masks are encouraged.

Bar 5015 Bike Ride

Bar5015 has teamed up Eleven86 Real Artesian Water to host a Juneteenth Bike Ride, beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at 1700 Hermann Square. 6:00pm. Riders will head to Bar5015 at 5015 Almeda Rd., where donated water from Eleven86 Real Artesian Water will be available. The casual bike ride will continue through downtown with stops at Phil and Derek’s and Vegan Soul Food. They’ll end at Emancipation Park. T-shirts and die-cut stickers will be available. (The event will go on despite the devastating explosion at Bar5015 earlier this month.)

Juneteenth Night Light Bike Ride

Letsdothishouston and Third Ward Tours are hosting a music-themed bike ride Friday evening that begins at 2301 Elgin St. at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9.36 if you bring your own bike and $20.19 to rent one. Click here for tickets and more information.


Gleannloch Farms Juneteenth Unity Event

This neighborhood event will be held to discuss race, discrimination and unity. The family-friendly event will also include food, music, fellowship, games, a presentation about Juneteenth and the opportunity to share stories and resources. The free event takes place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Gleannloch Pines Golf Club, 19393 Champion Forest Drive, Spring. 


Good Brothers & Sisters of Montgomery County will host a festival in honor of the holiday with activities that include food, drinks, vendors and a three-on-three basketball tournament. The free event takes place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 1001 Dr M.L.K. Jr. Place S. in Conroe. 


A festival hosted by BLM The Woodlands will be held at Northshore Park from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The free event will include food, festivities and an open mic. Northshore Park is located at 2505 Lake Woodlands Drive. 


Summerwood Unity Walk and march against racism begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Summerwood Club House with speakers and a voter registration booth. It’s located at 14181 Summerwood Lakes Drive. 


A panel on "Moving Forward, Protecting Human Rights" will be hosted by Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Demerchant will host a panel moderated by Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton. Panelists include Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis and civil rights attorney Roy Austin. 2-3 p.m. Free. 281-980-2235.


The community of Meridiana is hosting an event at the park at 4003 Meridiana Pkwy. in Rosharon. It's from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The goal is to educate community members about the history of Juneteenth. There will be music, food trucks, activities for the kids, tournaments and a guest speaker.


Reflections on Juneteenth and America’s Racial Legacy lectures
Rice University will host a virtual lecture series discussing the legacy of slavery and race in America. The free event will include several 20-minute lectures and an hour-long conversation with Capt. Paul J. Matthews of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. It's from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lecture: Darkness to Light, Education, Notables and Sacred Places
Authors Tommie Boudreaux and Alice Gatson will discuss the history and contributions of African Americans in Galveston. It can be viewed live on their Facebook at 2 p.m. and is being held in conjunction with Galveston Historical Foundation and Galveston Island’s Juneteenth celebrations. 

 Juneteenth Black Family Reunion: The NAACP is hosting a live stream YouTube event to share stories and support. Attendees are encouraged to submit their own video sharing their experiences to the organization that may be included during the live event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.


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