Two and half years after Emancipation, on June 19, 1985, Union Army General Gordon Granger made an official proclamation at Galveston Island, ordering the freedom of enslaved Black people in Texas. The day, called Juneteenth, has been a Texas state holiday since 1980 and has been celebrated by Black communities in Texas since before that time.
In 2016, at the age of 89, Texan teacher and activist Opal Lee initiated a 1400-mile walk from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C. to gain support for making Juneteenth a national holiday. Last year, the United States Congress passed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday.
Here are some upcoming events that celebrate Juneteenth throughout Texas.
Opal’s Walk for Freedom
Saturday, June 18, 2022
On this June 18th, Ms. Opal Lee will embark on her annual 2.5 mile walk to recognize the 2.5 years it took for the news of freedom to reach all enslaved people in the United States. Register to walk virtually with Ms. Opal from any location or join our Opal’s Walk Live events in a city near you.
Black West Austin Driving Tour
Neill-Cochran House Museum
Sunday, June 19, 2022; 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
This self-guided, driving/walking/biking tour helps participants better understand the history of our city and the important contributions Black Austinites have made to Austin’s development. Using pre-recorded videos accessed through QR codes at site specific locations in the Wheatville, Pease Park, and Clarksville neighborhoods, the tour shares the impact of the segregationist 1928 City Plan, which shaped the racial divide as well as the urban landscape that Austinites continue to overcome today.
Juneteenth Trivia Night
South Dallas Cultural Center
Friday, June 17, 2022; 7:00 – 10:00 pm
In collaboration UNT Black Alumni and LOFE, spend an evening with friends and family as you compete, engage, and learn about the Black community around arts and culture. This will be a free social event to celebrate Juneteenth as a national holiday.
Register for trivia, games, or both. Teams will be made on site with a maximum of 4 people. Don’t have a team? No worries. Come solo and we will create one for you. Trivia will be emphasized on the arts and Black culture. This is a multi-round game with prizes for the winners. Participants must be 21 or older with a valid ID.
33rd Texas Black Invitational Rodeo
Fair Park Coliseum
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 6:30 pm
Presented by the African American Museum, Dallas, the rodeo offers an exciting family-fun night as approximately 300 African American cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash prizes in bronc and bull riding, calf and steer roping, barrel racing, a Pony Express relay race and more.
Kicking off with the Grand Entry Parade at 6:30 pm, the fast-paced evening of thrills provides guests with a glimpse of the historical contributions that African Americans made in the settling of the western United States. The event also includes on-field kids activities, trick lasso performances, concessions, music and more.
Juneteenth at the Kimbell
Kimbell Art Museum
Sunday, June 19, 2022; Noon – 5:00 pm
In celebration of Juneteenth, the Kimbell will offer free admission to the special exhibition The Language of Beauty in African Art on Sunday, June 19. Special thanks to the Nuestro Kimbell committee for their support of our community programs.
Project Row Houses
2521 Holman St.
Friday, June 17, 2022; 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Join Project Row Houses as we celebrate Juneteenth in the Third Ward this year! We’ll be gathering with our community at Project Row Houses right along Holman Street for an afternoon of fun, games, food, and family! We hope to see you there!
Children’s Museum Houston
1500 Binz St
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The Children’s Museum is proud to celebrate and honor this historic day with drumming, storytelling, dramatization, interactive activities and so much more!
– Black Panther: Make a royal encounter with T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, himself!
– Author Jatrean Sanders: Sparks meaningful conversations about diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion with her book, Today Was Not the Same.
– Harriet Tubman Dramatization: Learn about the life and leadership of Harriet Tubman with “Git On Board! The Life of Harriet Tubman” presented by Young Audiences of Houston.
– Joy of Djembe Drumming: Immerse yourself in rhythm and passion with the heart pounding beats of this interactive musical performance.
The Living Room at HPL
Mancuso Neighborhood Library
6767 Bellfort Ave.
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Learn more about the curated collections that represent the African American experience in Houston and Texas, housed at the African American Library at the Gregory School, the first library of its kind in Houston and one of the few African American libraries in the country.
– Toni Simmons, author and storyteller
– Maria Mayer, an African American quilter and a member of The Blue Triangle Quilt Guild of Houston, displaying The Underground Railroad and Quilt Codes, an exciting exhibit of mini quilts using the quilt codes thought to be from quilts made by African slaves during slavery in America
– Artist Norola Morgan – “I create stories and magic with the treasures I find, bringing characters to life from the visions in my mind”
Juneteenth Champions, an exhibition by Ted Ellis
Houston Museum of African American Culture
Saturday, June 18, 2022; 5:00 – 7:00 pm
A reception with artist Ted Ellis, celebrating important figures in the history of Juneteenth.
Come Sunday (I’m Crossing Over) by Lauren Cross
Galveston Arts Center
Sunday, June 19, 2022; Noon – 5:00 pm
Come Sunday is an exhibition featuring the works of interdisciplinary artist Lauren Cross, which are inspired by narratives of Black migration, emancipation, and freedom. Heavily influenced by the lyrics of spirituals, jazz, and other songs of freedom, Cross uses her multi-dimensional practice in this series as a solemn prayer of liberation for one’s community.
Through the use of digitally fabricated fibers, installations, videos, and prints, Cross’ work connects to stories of the historic journey to Juneteenth that occurred on June 19, 1865– the day that General Gordon Granger issued General Order No 3 and informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were free. As a native Texan, Cross reimagines these historic images and scenes through the lens of her own ancestors who existed across five generations in the state. While her tracings of their steps to freedom are intentionally imaginary, she proposes these memories and images as the circulation of celebrations past, present, and future.
San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum
Friday, June 17, 2022; 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
SAAACAM wants to help you preserve your history! On Friday, June 17, bring your family documents — such as photographs, birth and death announcements, journals, yearbooks or even just your oral histories— to Comanche Park at any time from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Volunteers will digitally preserve these records, keeping them alive for future generations.
Hallet Oak Gallery
115 N. Main St.
Sunday, June 19, 2022; Noon – 4:00 pm
Former art teacher and renowned black history artist Moses Adams will discuss and display quilts created by his grandmother, Lettie Prince North. Born in 1899 to former slaves, Mrs. North used one patch “postage stamp” designs. Her quilts have been published in Collecting African American Art, by John Hope Franklin and Alvia J. Wardlaw.
Naomi Carrier, author of Go Down, Old Hannah, founder of the Texas Center for African American Living History and curator of the Mitchel Museum will discuss Juneteenth as a reminder of the emancipation from slavery and as a window into the past. She will offer insight into how the past relates to current times.