juneteenth tctx

Read the proclamation recognizing the 30th Annual Travis County Juneteenth Celebration on Friday, June 14, 2019.




Juneteenth 2019

Historical Facts

  • More than 200,000 African Americans were still enslaved in Texas after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. The Civil War ended in April of 1865. On June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to issue General Order No. 3, officially freeing America’s final slaves. It stated: "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This date, known as Juneteenth, has since been celebrated as Black Independence Day by African Americans across the nation.
  • Freedom did not come at the "snap of a finger" for everyone in Texas. Some people who should've been freed continued to work through the harvest season because their masters withheld this announcement to reap more wages out of their slaves. This left many former slaves treated as though they were still in bondage.
  • Juneteenth was first celebrated as a Texas holiday in 1867. A group of former slaves pooled $800 together through local churches to purchase property to be used for Juneteenth celebrations, including the 10-acre Emancipation Park in Houston, and a 20-acre site near Lake Mexia in Limestone County, Texas. The celebration of Juneteenth has spread beyond Texas to states across the nation, with rodeos, fishing, baseball, and barbecues, along with an emphasis on education and self-improvement. Some involve special guest speakers and prayer services, and elder members of the community are sometimes called to share their memories.
  • Juneteenth Is The Oldest Known Celebration of the ending of Slavery.
  • A renaissance in Juneteenth celebrations occurred shortly before the United States entered World War II. The important catalyst for the revival of Juneteenth celebrations happened in Texas. Antonio Maceo Smith, an educator and a leading force in the newly reorganized Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce, led efforts to create a major exhibit of Black achievement at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. When State Fair organizers refused, Smith and other civic leaders in Texas and around the country secured a $100,000 grant from the federal government. They used the money to build the Hall of Negro Life. It was completed and dedicated on June 19, 1936. Over 46,000 Blacks streamed into the state fair grounds for the largest Juneteenth celebration ever held at that time. Although the hall was demolished soon after the fair closed, the 1936 Juneteenth celebration was the most important celebration of Black life in the state’s history, and it revived the public celebration of Juneteenth.
  • In June 1974, Houston Mayor Fred Hofheinz issued a proclamation making June 19 “Emancipation Proclamation Day in Houston.” That same year Rev. C. Anderson Davis began the annual Juneteenth Parade in downtown Houston. In Texas, the celebration gained new momentum after State Representative Al Edwards (Dem.-Houston) sponsored a bill in 1979 that declared Juneteenth a state holiday.
  • In 1980 "Emancipation Day in Texas" became a legal state holiday under legislation introduced by freshman Democratic state representative Al Edwards in recognition of Juneteenth. However state offices do not completely close, as it is considered a "partial staffing holiday." Elsewhere, the holiday is also referred to as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day.
  • Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth a holiday on January 1, 1980, then other states followed. The following states now celebrate Juneteenth: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and also Washington D.C.
  • Juneteenth is a combination of the words June and Nineteenth in reference to the date that slaves were freed in Texas.
  • Travis County held its first Juneteenth celebration in 1989. This celebration was led by the then Commissioner Biscoe who later became the first African American Travis County Judge in 1999
  • In 1996 the first legislation to recognize "Juneteenth Independence Day" was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.J. Res. 195, sponsored by Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI). In 1997 Congress recognized the day through Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56. In 2013 the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 175, acknowledging Lula Briggs Galloway (late president of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage) who "successfully worked to bring national recognition to Juneteenth Independence Day", and the continued leadership of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation.

T-Shirts for Hunger

Time to clean out the t-shirt drawer! Celebrate Juneteenth 2019 and bring your shirts for the T-Shirts for Hunger Program! Feel free to ask your neighbor, kid’s little league, your friend who helps organize marathons/works at SXSW/etc., your daughter’s sorority … all donated t-shirts are recycled into reusable shopping bags and used by our Travis County food pantries and other community organizations.

t-shirts for hunger juneteenth


If you are interested in making a donation to the Travis County Juneteenth Celebration please write a check out to the Travis County Employee Enrichment Fund (TCEEF) with “Juneteenth Celebration” noted in the memo of the check. Please mail all checks to Judge Eckhardt’s Office at 700 Lavaca Street, Suite 2.300, Austin, TX 78701.

Juneteenth 2018




Juneteenth 2018

Juneteenth Details

Date: Friday June 14, 2019

Indoor Ceremony

Time:10am - 11am

Location:700 Lavaca (Map), 1st Floor

Outdoor Event

Time:11am - 2pm

Location: The underside of the parking garage on the northeast corner of 8th Street and Lavaca Street