Happy Juneteenth! Freedom Day, celebrated June 19, has its origins in Galveston.
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.
Today, the Galveston Historical Foundation is honoring this day with a memorial service at Ashton Villa honoring late Texas State Rep. Al Edwards, who introduced legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. Edwards died in April.
In conjunction with the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston Historical Foundation will live stream the annual Juneteenth program on Friday, June 19 at 10 a.m. We’ll share the live-stream on the City of Galveston, Texas - Government’s Facebook page as well. The event is also available at galvestonhistory.org.
The annual Juneteenth parade and other in-person festivities were canceled this year because of coronavirus.