With Juneteenth right around the corner, a group of Houston-area ministers and community leaders gathered at Emancipation Park to bestow peace over the newly renovated landmark.
Among those in attendance were Rev. Mark Slone, Rev. L.L. Atkins, Rev. Robert Gilmore, Minister Robert Muhammad, Rev. David L. Punch, Rev. Marilyn White, and Rev. Gerald Shanks.
Members of the Third Ward Community Cloth Cooperative, OST/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority, City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Emancipation Park Conservancy attended as well.
Slone, a minister at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, said the park serves as a place of pride where African-Americans can congregate.
“Emancipation Park was the only place where Blacks could assemble because back then it was against the law and there weren’t many places for our people to come together,” he said.
Gilmore said that because founders of the park included spiritual leaders it was important to bless the “hallowed grounds.”
“It is critical for [us] to pray over Emancipation Park primarily because of the founders being Christian leaders,” Gilmore said.
“The fact that they had so little yet had the faith to purchase something like this; all we want to do is continue their vision by consecrating the land in unison and breathing prosperity in its legacy.”
As ministers prayed on all four corners of the park, Muhammad said they’re also praying to bless the future generations of children and making sure they understand the history behind it.
“This park represents the epicenter of the cultural renaissance here in Third Ward,” Muhammad said.
“The cultural center here isn’t just there for recreation, it’s here to teach future generations about our ancestors’ rich history because, in this generation, there’s an obligation to make this kind of investment in the future for those that come behind us to continue to bring peace to this treasure here in Third Ward,” he said.