Emancipation Park Conservancy will host virtual programming and interactive activities throughout the week, culminating on June 19, 2020, the Juneteenth Holiday. A blending of the words June and nineteenth, Juneteenth is the oldest known US celebration of the end of slavery and commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that slaves were emancipated in Texas.

The virtual events will highlight and celebrate the rich history of African-Americans in the US, most notably the work of Houston historical figure and former slave, Revered Jack Yates in 1872. Yates was instrumental in organizing funding for the land that Emancipation Park sits on today and that continues to serve as the home for Houston’s annual Juneteenth celebration. The park was rededicated in 2017 after undergoing a 33.6 million extensive renovations.

The park’s history is significant as it is the oldest park in Houston and one of the oldest in Texas. It was purchased in 1872 by Richard Allen, Richard Brock, Yates, and Elias Dibble for $800. In the Jim Crow era, it was the sole public park available to African-Americans.

“This year’s theme is We Are Juneteenth, a declaration meant to empower those of African descent and engage their communities across the world by sharing about the history, traditions, heritage, and culture of African Americans,” said Lucy Bremond, Executive Director of Emancipation Park Conservancy. “It’s a collaborative movement that highlights the strides and impact African Americans are making toward our own economical, educational, and political advancements.”

To kick off the Juneteenth Celebration, Emancipation Park Conservancy in collaboration with Freedmen’s Town Conservancy hosted a discussion on the preservation of land and legacy with playwright Holly Charles and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Throughout the week, events will include healthy food and nutrition seminars, a message from Actress Phylicia Rashad, a virtual parade, sustainability activations, a geotour and more. Rashad is the Honorary Chairman for this year’s event. On the final day, the 148th Annual Juneteenth Celebration will feature live entertainment, storytime and a tribute lunch for frontline workers.

“Emancipation Park Conservancy is thrilled to offer a virtual experience this year,” said Ramon Manning, Board Chairman for Emancipation Park Conservancy. “Now more than ever, it’s important that we create spaces for people of all backgrounds to gain a deeper understanding of the African American experience in America and the many contributions we’ve made. We hope these events serve as a source of inspiration, education and emotional healing for people around the world.”

For a complete schedule of programming, please see the below timeline or visit www.epconservancy.org.

Emancipation Park Conservancy Juneteenth Programming

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 

6:30 p.m. Founders’ Corners: History Meets Art in Emancipation Park

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

3 p.m. Dow Promise Public Space Recycling Program Launch

6:30 p.m. Let’s Connect: Small Businesses and Community

Friday, June 19, 2020 (Juneteenth Holiday) 

10 a.m. Back Down Memory Lane: Juneteenth Virtual Parade

11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Frontline Workers Appreciation Lunch (invitation only – details available upon request)

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Juneteenth Story Jam

12 p.m. #WAJ is Reflection: Phylicia Rashad

2 p.m.– 5 p.m. We Are One Celebration

• Watch on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EPConservancy

6 p.m. Good Cookin’ for the Soul

• Watch on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EPConservancy

7:30p Juneteenth Vibes with DJ Flash Gordon Parks, Instagram Live

• Watch on Instagram: www.instagram.com/EPConservancy