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Experience Galveston's historic connection with Juneteenth year-round!
When you head to Galveston this summer, you’ll be coming home to where it all began as the island hosts festivities to celebrate Juneteenth – a holiday that originated in this historic beach town.
The Birthplace of Juneteenth, Galveston Island holds a special place in United States and African American history. But the richness of this history goes well beyond celebrating Emancipation. From being home to the first historically African American secondary school and public library in Texas to being the hometown of World Heavyweight Champ Jack Johnson, Galveston has long fought to preserve the knowledge of African American accomplishments and heritage on the island, holding dear the many historic sites and monuments that live on to tell the story.
The much-anticipated “Absolute Equality” mural, which illustrates the journey of Black Americans out of slavery into freedom, was dedicated during a ceremony on Juneteenth in Galveston in 2021. You can visit this mural anytime at 2201 Strand St.
The 5,000 square-foot mural, created by Houston-based Reginald C. Adams, was painted on the side of the Old Galveston Square building, located at 22nd and Strand in downtown Galveston. The massive art installation was an initiative of the Juneteenth Legacy Project, an organization that aimed to raise awareness about Juneteenth and contribute to a growing push to make Juneteenth a national holiday. In June of 2021, this goal became a reality when Juneteenth was officially announced as a federal holiday.
Juneteenth, or June 19, marks the day in 1865 that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, which announced the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state of Texas – one of the last groups of slaves to be freed in the United States.
In Galveston, you can explore African American history in living color thanks to a new interactive tour app. The tour, found here, allows visitors to take a self-guided journey to learn about the island’s many historically black institutions and monuments celebrating black accomplishments.