Juneteenth

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The city celebrated the end of slavery in Texas with its annual Juneteenth parade in East Austin on Saturday.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Today is the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day when African-American slaves in Galveston, Texas were finally granted their freedom – two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and just over two months after the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox.

The day of celebration started as a Texas tradition but has since become a nationwide tradition, and in the late 1990s two Texas artists built statues to commemorate the holiday.

Those statues have now been installed in Austin’s George Washington Carver Museum, but the statues have had a long journey to what will likely be their permanent home. 

Grace Murray Stephenson, Austin History Center, PICA 05476

Friday marks the 150th anniversary of the day that brought freedom to 250,000 African-Americans from slavery in Texas, commonly known as Juneteenth.

While President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 is recognized as the declaration that freed U.S. slaves, Confederate states didn’t recognize the Union decree. So, even after the war ended at Appomattox in April of 1865, Texan slaves weren’t freed until June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger read aloud a Union proclamation that officially ended slavery in Texas.

flickr.com/wallyg

The process of desegregation in Austin began in the 1950's. Blacks were no longer bound to live in one part of town and that allowed people to move into different neighborhoods. But some African-Americans left Austin completely. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Yesterday was Juneteenth, marking the day in 1865 that Texas slaves learned they were free.

To mark the occasion, this week KUT News has explored the changing landscape of African-American community here in Central Texas.

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