The Birthplace of Juneteenth: Galveston Celebrates Emancipation Year Round

As the birthplace of Juneteenth, Galveston offers visitors the chance to experience our country’s newest federal holiday in living color – during Black History Month and throughout the year.

Galveston offers numerous historic sites and tours that showcase the origins of Juneteenth in the city, along with an annual Juneteenth festival, new special events, and activities. It is the ideal place to honor June 19, 1865, a momentous day when slavery was abolished in Texas and one of the last groups of enslaved people in the United States were freed.

Absolute Equality Mural and NIA Cultural Center

The “Absolute Equality” mural, which illustrates the journey of Black Americans out of slavery into freedom, was recently added to Galveston’s rich history-focused attractions. 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 is an initiative of the Juneteenth Legacy Project to help raise awareness about Juneteenth. Juneteenth, or June 19, marks the day in 1865 that Union Army Major Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, which ordered the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state of Texas – one of the last groups of enslaved people to be freed in the United States. The mural overlooks the site where General Order No. 3 was read. The NIA Cultural Center is located directly behind the Absolute Equality Mural. It serves as a hub of African American art, culture and history.

Freedom Walk Tours

The self-guided Freedom Walk guides participants through five historic sites that played a crucial role in Juneteenth including Pier 21 and the Middle Passage, The Absolute Equality Mural and NIA Cultural Center, US Customs House, Reedy Chapel, 1859 Ashton Villa. By retracing the steps of the Union Soldiers on this momentous day in history, participants can gain a deeper understanding of the significance of Juneteenth in Galveston. You can start anywhere along the route. Download the map at

“And Still We Rise…” Exhibit at Ashton Villa

And Still We Rise… Galveston’s Juneteenth Story is located in the carriage house of the 1859 Ashton Villa and overseen by Galveston Historical Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee. The interactive exhibit introduces the context and consequences of General Order No. 3 from 1865 to the present, in a long journey toward absolute equality. It draws from recorded interviews and features numerous digital touchpoints allowing visitors to interact with collected photos, stories and research. For more information, head to

Juneteenth and Beyond Guided Tours

Juneteenth and Beyond is Galveston's very first African American guided history tour franchise. The guided tours offer pleasant and relaxing ways to experience our amazing heritage. Visit Galveston provides visitors with the opportunity to celebrate Galveston's rich, Black history beginning with the Juneteenth story. To book a tour and explore historical Galveston sites, visit

Galveston African American History Tour & App

Galveston’s African American History Tour, found on the Visit Galveston app, allows visitors to take a self-guided journey to learn about the island’s historically black institutions and monuments celebrating black accomplishments. As the birthplace of Juneteenth, Galveston Island holds a special place in the United States and African American history. The city is also home to the first historically black secondary school and public library in Texas, is the hometown of World Heavyweight Champ Jack Johnson, and features several historically black churches that were established as firsts for Texas. To access the tour, visitors can either download the Visit Galveston app on Android or Apple devices or visit the website at Use the search bar to type in “African American History Tour.” The African American History Tour itinerary can be customized based on a person’s interests and time allocation.

About Galveston Island

Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, including several National Historic Landmarks. Galveston Island is the birthplace of Juneteenth and home to popular amusements such as Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, as well as a variety of museums and recreational activities from surfing to birding. For more information on Galveston Island go to or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.

Media Resources: To download images and B-Roll, go to