The City of Galveston will officially recognize Juneteenth as a city holiday this year. The Galveston City Council voted unanimously to establish Juneteenth as a city holiday to recognize Galveston and American history.
On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, announcing the freedom of all slaves with the reading and enforcement of General Order No. 3. While President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than two-and-a-half years earlier, slaveowners in Texas (one of the farthest outposts of the slave states) refused to acknowledge it and there were few Union soldiers in the state to enforce it. Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, celebrates emancipation for those enslaved in the United States.
“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 June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, it will be observed on Friday as a city holiday. City facilities will be closed Friday, June 18, and we will resume normal operations on Monday.
There are several events planned in Galveston for Juneteenth. The Juneteenth Legacy Project will dedicate its public art installation, "Absolute Equality," on June 19 at 11:30 a.m. in Galveston. The public ceremony will feature a host of special guests important to the initiative. Special guests will include Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who are co-authoring legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
The Juneteenth Parade will be on Saturday, June 19th beginning at 1:00 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 begins at 11:00 AM on 26th Street between Ball and Postoffice.