Tuesday June 16, 2009
This holiday celebrates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers in Galveston declared that Texas's slaves were free. Texans since have celebrated each year with regional food and drink.
30th Annual Emancipation Proclamation Reading and Prayer Breakfast
Location: Ashton Villa 2300 Broadway Galveston, TX 77550
Contact: Douglas Matthews (409) 747-2912
The Emancipation Proclamation will be read to commemorate the historic event that occurred in Galveston on June 19, 1865, two years after it was enacted in 1863. 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 and providing for statues in Galveston and at the state capital in Austin. Breakfast after the program has been donated by Landry’s/San Luis Resort and is free to the public.
Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Parade
Location: 25th and Ball to the New Wright Cuney Park at 41st and Ball
Contact: Leon Phillips (409) 762-7777 and Barbara Gordon (409) 599-8050 and Jaz Shabazz (409) 599-0155
Marching bands, drill teams, decorated cars and high kicking performers from Galveston, Houston, Dallas and other areas will excite the crowds along the route. Beautiful horse driven carriages will also be featured. To participate in the parade please contact persons listed above. Proof of auto liability insurance is required before the event.
Annual Annie Mae Charles Juneteenth Jubilee Picnic
Time: After the Parade
Location: Wright Cuney Park at 41st and Ball
Galveston, TX 77550
Contact: Barbara Gordon (409) 599-8050 and Anna Fields (409) 526-6193
The picnic will begin after the completion of the Juneteenth Parade. Complimentary refreshments will be provided as well as music and activities for the entire family. A special program including the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation will begin at 2:00p.m. The picnic is free to the public.
10th Annual Mount Olive Gospel Explosion
Time: 5:00–9:00 p.m.
Location: Back Parking Lot at Mount Olive Baptist Church 3602 Avenue H, Galveston, TX 77550
Contact: Rev. Peter and Quinnette James (409) 762-0088
The Gospel Explosion is a spiritual event hosted by Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Bring the entire family to join in the festivities and listen to great gospel music, soloist, and praise dancers. Prayers will be offered for our soldiers and others. Vendors will be available as well as activities for young children. If you are interested in participating please contact the persons listed above. The event is open to the public.
Reedy Chapel’s Annual March, Musical & Reception
Location: March from Old Galveston Court House on 21st and Sealy to Reedy Chapel AME Church, 2015 Broadway, Galveston, TX 77550
Contact: Sharon Gillins (409) 392-5887
Reedy Chapel AME Church and guests will commemorate the reading of General Order #3 in front of the Galveston County Courthouse and then march to the church at 2015 Broadway as Reedy members did on January 1, 1866. The Emancipation Proclamation will be read during the program. Traditional gospel music and The Heritage Chorale under the direction of Mrs. Izola Collins will be featured. After the service refreshments will be served. The public is invited to participate in this free event.
The History of Juneteenth
Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been 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 June 2008, 29 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or observance.
Galveston Juneteenth Coalition
The Galveston Juneteenth Coalition was organized in January of 2002 at Old Central Cultural Center. Mr. Douglas Matthews and Mr. Ennis Williams, Jr. came up with the bright idea to coordinate all activities being sponsored during the Juneteenth Celebration.
With the help of Danny Allen, Chairman of the City Park Board of Trustees at that time, they were able to secure $50,000 over two years as “seed money” to enhance and promote the Juneteenth Coalition Events. The founding members were Douglas Matthews, Ennis Williams, Maggie Williams, Annie Mae Charles, Dorothy Brown, Leon Phillips, Barbara Gordon, Anna Fields, and Jarma Shabazz. The present chairpersons are Ennis and Maggie Williams. The Coalition is under the umbrella of Old Central Cultural Center.
Galveston Juneteenth Coalition
2627 Avenue M, Galveston, Texas 77550
Ennis Williams Jr. (409) 392-1426
For more information on Galveston’s Junteenth Celebration contact the Galveston Convention & Visitors Bureau toll-free (888) 425-4753 or visit
Supported by the City of Galveston and The Arts & Preservation Committee