Commemorate Juneteenth 2021 with a self-guided Freedom Walk and learn about 5 historic sites and their importance to Juneteenth. You can also win a prized keepsake poster by taking the Freedom Walk Challenge. You just need to download the Visit Galveston app on Android or Apple devices, or visit the website at galveston.visitwidget.com and take the Freedom Walk Challenge!
Juneteenth history and the significance of Galveston
Major General Gordon Granger and almost two thousand Federal forces landed in Galveston on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after US President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, to convey the dramatic revelation that enslaved people had been freed.
This day has come to be known as Juneteenth, Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. This year you can commemorate the day with a self-guided tour where you have five stops within a 1 ½ mile area retracing the steps of the Union Soldiers.
Five Stops On The Juneteenth Freedom Walk Tour in Galveston
Stop 1: Pier 21 and the Middle Passage
This marker honors enslaved Africans in Galveston during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as well as the millions of slaves who perished through the Middle Passage, the transatlantic slave trade.
Stop 2 – Juneteenth marker and site of Union Headquarters
After arriving at the Galveston port, Granger and his soldiers marched to Union Army Headquarters at the Osterman Building. He issued General Order No. 3, which informed Texas residents about the Emancipation Proclamation and emancipated all remaining slaves.
Stop 3 – US Customs House
Granger and his men marched through Galveston reading General Order No. 3 at numerous locations including the 1861 U.S. Customs House. The Customs House was one of the primary buildings that the army soldiers occupied. A copy of General Order No. 3 was posted near the front door where a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation is displayed today.
Stop 4 – Reedy Chapel-AME Church, known in 1865 as the Negro Church on Broadway
Reedy Chapel AME Church would have been a central location for enslaved people to gather on the island. It is believed this was the last site along General Gordon Granger’s march through Galveston on June 19, 1865. It is also the site of early Juneteenth celebrations in which freed slaves marched from the county courthouse to the church.
Stop 5 – Ashton Villa
Every year, Ashton Villa is the site where the Galveston community commemorates the reading of General Order No. 3 in Texas with a prayer breakfast and reenactment. On the property grounds stands the city’s official Juneteenth statue called the ‘Legislator’ commemorating the day in which the legislation made June 19th a Texas State holiday.
Check out the official website to get more details about the Freedom Walk and learn more about each of the stops with short, engaging videos.
Galveston is a great place to commemorate Juneteenth. It is also a fantastic option to enjoy some beach time. Check out the best beaches in Galveston.