Skip Navigation

Celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston    

June 6, 2023

The Absolute Equality Mural in Galveston, TX
The Absolute Equality Mural in Galveston, TX

By Taylor Bounds, Content Specialist

Juneteenth, observed annually on June 19, celebrates the emancipation of those enslaved in the United States. On June 19, 1865, over two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and announced that all enslaved individuals were to be freed. General Order 3, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation, is said to have been read at several locations on the island, including the balcony of Ashton Villa, Reedy AME Chapel, U.S. Customs House & Court House and the Osterman Building, which now features the ”Absolute Equality” Mural, giving our small island community a significant historical role in Juneteenth. 

The order read, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Juneteenth celebrations have become a part of African American heritage, and the holiday is commemorated with parades, educational events, concerts and more across the United States. Though Texas has celebrated Juneteenth as a state holiday since 1980, President Joe Biden signed the holiday into federal law in 2021.

“The importance of Juneteenth is to celebrate the history and success of African Americans,” said Prandon Powell ‘25, Mykila Albertie ‘26, Cameron Henderson ‘24 and Ajeanai Vawar ‘26, who together make up the officer board of the Black Student Alliance at the Galveston campus. “The holiday can be used as a beacon to broadcast how far we’ve grown as African Americans as a community, with influences in STEM, Black Owned Businesses, and Black Entertainment bringing all our experiences together. Juneteenth is a celebration of our progression in America and what it means to be African American.”

Local Juneteenth celebrations are already in full swing. With over two dozen events across Galveston Island, these commemorations honor the holiday's historical significance and foster unity, cultural appreciation and the recognition of African American contributions to our country and the world. People from all backgrounds are invited to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people and reflect on the ongoing pursuit of equality and justice. 


Media contact:
Taylor Bounds

Texas A&M University at Galveston is the marine and maritime branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in science, business, engineering, liberal arts and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M's rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.

Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies and the only one in the southern United States, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world.

Texas A&M-Galveston is located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where it is surrounded by industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.