After the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in 1863, it took two and a half years for the word that slaves were free to make it to Texas. The date that a Union general announced the news in Galveston on June 19, 1865—now known as Juneteenth—is marked with celebrations across the state during the next two weekends.
As the site of this historic event, Galveston’s Juneteenth does it big with more than 10 days of events, ranging from contemplative exhibits and prayer meetings to lively parades and festivals. A detailed list of planned activities running now through June 19 can be found here.
This Saturday, Waco’s Juneteenth Family Fun Day features performances by nationally known R&B acts such as K-Ci & JoJo and H-town, as well as a parade and family activities. Gates open at 2 p.m. with live entertainment beginning at 4 p.m. in Brazos Park East.
Aside from the historical aspect, Juneteenth also is a time to celebrate the African American journey, which echoes the theme of an exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey retells the Greek classic The Odyssey with black characters, reinterpreting the tale as a universal story of a traveler’s search for home. The exhibit runs through August 11.
Other Juneteenth events across the state include:
Austin: Central Texas Juneteenth Celebrations , June 19
Austin: DiverseArts Juneteenth Celebration , June 22
Balch Springs: Juneteenth Jubilation , June 15
Bastrop: Juneteenth Celebration , June 15
Fort Worth: Juneteenth Celebration , June 19
Houston: Juneteenth Summer Celebration , June 19
San Antonio: Juneteenth Celebrations , June 19
San Marcos: Juneteenth Celebrations , June 21-22