In an overwhelming bipartisan announcement yesterday, the United States Congress passed a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Celebrated as a Texas state holiday since 1980 — 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 — Juneteenth is commemorated in Texas cities across the state.
No one may be more in the mood to celebrate than Opal Lee of Fort Worth. The 94-year-old has sustained a five-year campaign to make Juneteenth a national holiday, and has since been dubbed the Grandmother of Juneteenth. The annual 2.5-mile walk will again take place this year, marking the 2.5 years it took for the original national emancipation news to reach Texas. As Opal Lee and others gear up to celebrate this year, here are some of the highlights of Juneteenth celebrations across Texas this weekend.
Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow
Saturday, June 19
Bullock Texas State History Museum
“Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow is a traveling exhibition organized by the New-York Historical Society. The exhibition explores the national struggle for full citizenship and racial equality that unfolded in the 50 years after the Civil War.”
The Struggle and the Glory: the American Experience
June 9 – September 5
Neill-Cochran House Museum
“This exhibition captures the struggle and glory of living life as an African-American in the United States throughout history, along with the artist’s faith in the dream of equality and opportunity for all. We share that faith and we support all the people who are working so hard today to make the dream a reality.”
Cey Adams: Limited Release of New Works
West Chelsea Contemporary
“On Saturday, June 19, West Chelsea Contemporary Editions is set to release its first limited run of new works with legendary contemporary artist Cey Adams. Adams worked in close collaboration with master printer Gary Lichtenstein to create three new screen-prints, each a continuation of his American flag series.”
Black Art WKND Debuts Futur Noir
June 19, 12PM -June 20, 5PM
Cloud Tree Studios & Gallery
“Futur Noir introduces the world to a wave of new Black creators that will disrupt and reconstruct a new future in the art world. Cloudtree Studios & Gallery is proud to be occupied by this group of young creatives over the course of Juneteenth.”
“The Nasher Sculpture Center announces its second offsite Nasher Public project: Lauren Cross’s A Moment of Silence / Let Freedom Ring, presented in partnership with For Oak Cliff, an organization and community center that works to liberate the South Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff from systemic oppression. A Moment of Silence / Let Freedom Ring will be on view from June 19 – September 19, 2021.”
“This year marks the 156th anniversary of the date that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation first reached Texas and was read aloud in Galveston on June 19, 1865 — two years after it had become U.S. Law. In celebration of that day, the Houston Museum of African American Culture will host the following events through the weekend:
-HMAAC Freedom Pop-up Market, 11AM – 6pm
–Miss Juneteenth film screening: 7:30PM at Moonstruck Drive-in: 100 Bringhurst Street
– A short reading by Pulitzer Prize winner Annette Gordon-Reed from her new book On Juneteenth, June 21, 7PM.”
Houston Cinema Arts Society: Miss Juneteenth
June 21, 8:30PM
100 Bringhurst Street
“Houston Cinema Arts Society is partnering with Houston Museum of African American Culture to celebrate both Juneteenth and Black Music Month with screenings of Miss Juneteenth and Summer of Soul, respectively, at Moonstruck Drive-In. Miss Juneteenth will screen on Juneteenth at 8:30pm and will be preceded by Channing Godfrey Peoples’ new short film Doretha’s Blues. Summer of Soul will screen on June 23rd at 8:30pm and will be free with pre-registration required. Both will be accompanied by a special pre-show mixtape by DJ Red, made exclusively for each film program.”
JUNETEENTH in the 5TH: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
June 19, 10AM – 2PM
“Join us this Saturday 10am -2pm for performances, food truck, and an arts market! We are delighted to have The Outspoken Bean as one of our dynamic performers! Outspoken Bean is a performance poet, writer, compassionate mentor, electric entertainer, and educator. Bean was recently named 2021 Houston Poet Laureate.
June 19, 19AM – 2PM
“Children’s Museum is proud to celebrate and honor this historic day with line dancing, spoken word poetry, interactive activities and so much more!
- DJ Ryan Line Dancing: Feel the beat and move your feet during our interactive dance sessions.
- Vascola Stoney Spoken Word Poetry Workshop and Performance: Tap into the heart of yourself and others as you partake in a thought-provoking workshop while learning about Juneteenth.
Joy of Djembe African Drumming: Immerse yourself in rhythm and passion with the heart pounding beats of this interactive musical performance.
- African Story Time: Learn about the history of Juneteenth and African legends and mythology.
- Noisemakers with Juneteenth Colors: Make your voice heard while designing your very own noisemaker.
Create inspiring and memorable artwork.”
2021 Third Ward Juneteenth Celebration
June 19, 2- 8PM
Eldorado Ballroom Parking Lot: 2310 Elgin St.
“Join Project Row Houses and Emancipation Economic Development Council for a lively event to celebrate Juneteenth! Meet us at the Eldorado Ballroom Parking Lot to enjoy music, engage with artists through fun activities, eat delicious foods from local food trucks, and shop local Black owned businesses!”
Community Artists’ Collective: My Mirror is Fine
June 12 – July 30
Community Artists’ Collective
“Six Texas artists explore their self-identities through a series of individual styles, techniques and motifs in My Mirror Is Fine, opening Saturday, June 12, at The Collective. Houston artists Lauren Janelle, Alexis Pye, Matthew Napoli and Mathieu Jean Baptiste join San Antonio’s Cassidy Fritts and Mauro de la Tierra for the group show, which runs through July 30.”
Juneteenth Legacy Project ‘Absolute Equality’ Mural Dedication
June 19, 11:30AM
22nd and Strand Streets
The new mural, on the Mitchell Historic Properties building (owned by the family of the late Cynthia and George Mitchell), supplements the historical marker plaque on the site where Granger issued the proclamation more than 150 years ago. During the Memorial Day Weekend holiday, Samuel Collins III, co-chairman of the Juneteenth Legacy Project, along with members of the organization, walked with Fort Worth activist Opal Lee on part of her journey to advocate for Juneteenth to be a national holiday.
The Future is Freedom Juneteenth Celebration
June 17, 6:30 – 10PM
“Join Black Freedom Factory in liberating community for a Juneteenth Celebration that will celebrate the past, present and future of grassroots organizations that continue to build pathways toward freedom. Enjoy live music, artists, vendors, and food at the brand-new, interactive museum: Hopscotch San Antonio!”
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