Houston Matters

On Juneteenth, Remembering Emancipation Park’s Significance To Houston’s History

Ever since 1872, Juneteenth celebrations have been held at Emancipation Park. Houston Matters learns about the park’s significance to Houston’s history.

Emancipation Park Rec Center
The renovated rec center at Houston’s Emancipation Park.

Today marks Juneteenth, commemorating the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to announce the end of slavery in Texas and the United States.

Ever since 1872, Juneteenth celebrations have been held at Emancipation Park in Houston’s Third Ward. Just recently, the park was closed for a few years to undergo a $33 million renovation that was completed last year, which is when Houston Matters producer Maggie Martin attended the park’s re-dedication celebration.

In the audio above, we revisit her conversation about the park’s significance in Houston history with City Council Member Dwight Boykins, whose district includes Emancipation Park, and her interview with Philip Freelon, the main architect behind the renovation, who’s well-known for leading the design of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Children play at Houston’s Emancipation Park in the 1970’s.

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