HOUSTON, Texas -- Juneteenth has been a federal holiday since 2021 and a state holiday in 1980. But here in the Gulf Coast region, locals have been celebrating since 1865. The cherished day marks the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston and declared to the slaves there that they had been freed.
Sadly, it took two years for news that President Abraham Lincoln has issued the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation to reach area slaves. But rather than react with anger at the delay, they immediately toasted the discovery that they were free with dance, feasts, prayers, and more.
Here in Houston and Galveston, a host of Juneteenth-themed events abound. Venues all around the Greater Houston area and beyond will toast the day with concerts, food, festivals, movies, and more.
New for this year, a vivid mural by artist Chris Robinson at Bagby Park (415 Gray St.) celebrates Juneteenth by highlighting Houston's historically Black neighborhoods: Freedman's Town (also referred to as Fourth Ward), Fifth Ward, Independence Heights, Acres Homes, Sunnyside, South Park, and Third Ward. Each letter of the word "Midtown" represents one of the neighborhoods. The mural will be up through July 7.
To see the rest of the Juneteenth events in the area, visit our ABC13 partners at Houston CultureMap.
SEE ALSO: The History of Freedmen's Town