Houston’s Emancipation Park Keeps Tradition Alive With 147th Juneteenth Celebration

By Danielle Dorsey


Slavery was outlawed with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on New Year’s Day in 1863, but it would take two and a half years before that news reached Texas, where white plantation owners were all too eager to continue with business as usual.

On June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read by Major General Gordon Granger on a Galveston pier, and 250,000 slaves were freed. You can still view the announcement in the Galveston Tri-Weekly News from the archives of the Briscoe Center for American History.

Juneteenth rose up as an unofficial day of remembrance within Black communities, a way of celebrating progress while also honoring the memories of those who were forced to work after their freedom had been granted.

In 1872, former slaves Reverends Jack Yates, Elias Dibble, Richard Allen, and Richard Brock collected $800 (or close to $17,000 when adjusted for inflation) to purchase ten acres of Houston land to create Emancipation Park. The four men wanted to establish a place where Black communities could gather in peace and 147 years later, the tradition is still going strong.

Today, Emancipation Park is owned by the City of Houston and co-managed by the Emancipation Park Conservancy, which has organized several events throughout the month of June, including the 147th Juneteenth Celebration. In addition to entertainment and barbecue, this year’s Juneteenth celebration includes reenactments and testimony from Jacquelin Bostic, the great-granddaughter of Reverend Yates.

Lucy Bremond, executive director of the Emancipation Park Conservancy, told Houston Press that their annual Juneteenth events provide opportunities to share oral histories and inspire future generations.

“The whole story about Emancipation Park and Juneteenth, about history, about preservation, about the ‘can do itness,’” Bremond said. “Just think about 1872 and if you can understand what they did to overcome all those obstacles, it gives people endless possibilities to think about. [Children will think,] ‘If they can do it, I can do anything.’”

Click here for a full list of Juneteenth events at Emancipation Park.

Travel Noire

Danielle Dorsey

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

The Ultimate Memorial Day Weekend Party & Event Guide

The Ultimate Memorial Day Weekend Party & Event Guide

As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day Weekend often serves as a preview of what to expect this upcoming summer season. Related Post: Five Great Road Trips For Memorial Day From day parties, cultural events, concerts, festivals, and more, here’s how you can take full advantage of the three-day weekend across the country. African […]

Parker Diakite

Top Black-Owned Spas Just In Time For Mother’s Day

Top Black-Owned Spas Just In Time For Mother’s Day

Self-care is a gift that will never grow old. If you’ve thinking about treating your mom (or yourself) to a day at the spa, here are some of the best black-owed spas across the country specializing in health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit. Essential Body Bar, Houston, TX Ms. Letrice Mason created […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin

Flight Deal: Nonstop Between Chicago And Houston For Only $97

Flight Deal: Nonstop Between Chicago And Houston For Only $97

Calling our H-Town and Chi-Town readers. This deal is insanely good. You can fly direct between Chicago and Houston for only $97 roundtrip via American Airlines. The dates to travel from Chicago and Houston span from mid-June through early December. If you are traveling from Houston to Chicago, this deal is valid from late August […]

DeAnna Taylor