Galveston City Council establishes Juneteenth as city holiday in unanimous vote

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Wednesday, June 9, 2021
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Galveston is known as the 'birthplace of Juneteenth,' when the federal troops arrived on the island to announce and enforce the emancipation of the slaves.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Juneteenth will now be recognized as a city holiday in Galveston after a unanimous vote on June 2 by the city council.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to announce the freedom of all slaves with the reading and enforcement of General Order No. 3. But it happened more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Slaveowners in Texas had refused to acknowledge the proclamation, and few Union soldiers were in the state to enforce it.

Texas was also the last state to receive the news that the Civil War was over and slavery had been abolished. Lincoln was assassinated two months before Juneteenth.

In 1979, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth as a state holiday.

"Juneteenth is such an important day in our city's history. Today in our community, it teaches the lessons of freedom and absolute equality. I am proud to be a part of the City of Galveston in recognizing Juneteenth as an official holiday," Councilman William Schuster said.

Because it falls on a Saturday this year, it will be observed as a city holiday the Friday before, on June 18. That means city facilities will be closed and will resume normal operations on Monday.

Several Juneteenth events are planned in Galveston.

  • The Juneteenth Legacy Project will dedicate its public art installation "Absolute Equality" on June 19 at 11:30 a.m. The public ceremony will feature special guests, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D - Houston), who are co-authoring legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
  • The Juneteenth parade will begin at 1 p.m. This year, the parade will begin at 26th and Ball and travel west on Ball to 41st Street, ending at Wright Cuney Park, where a picnic will follow the parade. Line up will begin at 11 a.m. on 26th Street between Ball and Postoffice.

Celebrating Juneteenth: Five things to know about the holiday

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of "June" and "Nineteenth," the date of its celebration.

Last year, multiple American companies, including Twitter, Square, and Nike announced plans to make Juneteenth an annual official paid company holiday.

The video above is from a previous report on how Galveston celebrated Juneteenth in 2020.

How Former Texas Rep. Al Edwards helped make Juneteenth a state holiday

Woman convinces employer to make Juneteenth permanent paid holiday

Push to make Juneteenth a national holiday gaining support

92-year-old walks through Galveston to make Juneteenth a national holiday