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.


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.


Yesterday was Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates progress and societal advancement of African-Americans in Texas. While there is plenty to celebrate, some advocates in Austin are still trying to promote mental health and overcome treatment barriers for African-Americans in Austin.

And, although African-Americans are just as likely to encounter mental health problems as the rest of the population, there are fewer options when it comes to seeking help.  

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

To celebrate Juneteenth, KUT News is bringing you voices from Austin's black community. 

Nneka Waturoucha is a 19-year-old University of Texas student. Her father is American and her mother is Nigerian. While she grew up around minority communities in Houston, she’s still assimilating into the predominately white West Campus area.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

To celebrate Juneteenth, KUT News is bringing you voices from Austin's black community on their past, present and future.

Carlos Wilson is a young Austinite whose heritage is rooted in Central America. 

"I imagine that people aren't going to care about what your heritage is and they're just going to think that we're all the same in the future."

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A series of Juneteenth celebrations kicked off this weekend, celebrating the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas learned they were free. To honor these celebrations, KUT News is telling a series of stories about the history of the African-American community in Austin. 

courtesy flickr.com/atmtx

The Republic of Texas (ROT) Motorcycle Rally comes to Austin for the 18th time this weekend. It kicks off Thursday morning at the Travis County Expo Center and runs until noon on Sunday.

Several roads close early Friday evening for the event, including Congress Avenue between East 11th Street and Cesar Chavez Street. The ROT Rally Parade will also close roads from the Travis County Expo Center to downtown, beginning around 8 p.m. Friday.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Thousands of residents lined Chicon Street this morning to celebrate Juneteenth, when the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves came to be enforced in Texas.

Nathan Robertson was one participant. He’s lived in East Austin all his life. Robertson says it’s important for him to acknowledge the historical importance of the day, and that the parade offers a chance to catch up with old friends.

“We see people we haven’t seen in a while because of work and church and school,” Robertson says. “You know, you get in your routine and don’t see people. But we come out here and we can see people we haven’t seen in a year.”

KUT News

Lawmakers to Hear Testimony on STAAR Implementation

State lawmakers will get an update today on how the rollout of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, known as STAAR, went this spring. The exam is the state’s latest school accountability test.

Figures released this month indicated that many Texas ninth graders performed poorly on the test. As the Texas Tribune previously reported, “This year, the scores on the exams don’t count toward high school students’ final grades or toward school districts’ accountability ratings. But a requirement that students retake a test if they do not achieve a minimum score remains in place.” So due to low scores, many students will retake exams this summer.

KUT News

Tuesday, June 19th marks the 147th anniversary of Juneteenth, marking the abolition of slavery in Texas.

To celebrate the day, when enforcement of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, a parade will wind its way through east Austin.

It’s the 16th annual parade put on by the volunteer-based Juneteenth Committee. For coordinator Gwendolyn Doyle, the event is more than a simple celebration.

Mose Buchele, KUT News; Photo courtesy US Geological Survey; Photo by Layne Murdoch NBAE

North Texas Tremor

An earthquake shook part of North Texas early this morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.1 magnitude earthquake happened about 16 miles south of Fort Worth and just over 150 miles north of Austin.

The local sheriff’s office says so far there are no reports of injuries or damage.

Drawing courtesy of the City of Austin.

Groundbreaking for African American Cultural Facility

The City of Austin is inviting people to celebrate Juneteenth at a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the city’s African American Cultural and Heritage Facility.  It’s going to be built on 912 East 11th Street and includes the restoration of the historic Dedrick-Hamilton House, which was home to the family of one of the first freed slaves in Travis County.