MISSOURI CITY (KTRK) -- The Freedom Tree, located on Misty Hollow Drive in Missouri City, is a live oak whose life has spanned over 500 years. It's been able to withstand drought, hurricanes, tropical storms, and the general growth of the area, but its name came from a significant event that took place in the summer of 1865.
"This tree sat on the Palmer Plantation," said Donald Smith of the Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation. "This is the area, under this tree, where the slaves of the Palmer Plantation found out they were free."
The tree plays a key role in the foundation's annual Juneteenth celebrations, which take place over five days each June by hosting reenactments for area kids. In addition to those reenactments, celebrations in the area also include a parade, kick-off dance, golf tournament, and more at various venues in Missouri City. These events aren't possible this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the area.
"We decided that we weren't going to have our usual celebration," said Smith. "We're only going to have two events."
The first event, which is a PPE giveaway, will take place from 6-8pm on Friday at Hunters Glen Park on Independence Boulevard. Kits will include masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, and more.
"Mostly, we would like to do it for senior citizens," Smith said. "But, if you drive by, we will certainly put a packet in your window."
The second event, which is by invitation only, is a ceremony at Freedom Tree Park on Saturday.
"We want to make sure we do something to contribute something to 2020."
The Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation has provided over $200,000 in scholarships since its inception in 2002. Visit MCJCF.org for more information.
Missouri City's Freedom Tree symbolizes an important moment in Texas history