Juneteenth, commemorating the 1865 proclamation made on Galveston Island by Union Army General Gordon Granger ordering the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas, was special this year. In a bipartisan move, the United States Congress passed a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday, and it was signed into law by President Biden. Celebrated as a Texas state holiday since 1980, this year’s Juneteenth was also a sweltering 90 degrees as celebrations across the city of Houston kicked off.
I decided to visit some of the Houston celebrations we listed in our guide to Juneteenth, beginning with a stop at the DeLuxe Theater in Houston’s 5th Ward. (There was also a dedication of a Juneteenth mural in Galveston, which we wrote about here. ) Like the rest of the events I attended on Saturday, the DeLuxe’s celebration was an indoor/outdoor experience. Several small businesses as well as artists tended booths where art and services were promoted.
Below are some highlights of Juneteenth events at the DeLuxe, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, and the Eldorado Ballroom in Houston’s Third Ward.