On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln signed and published the Emancipation Proclamation; however, Texas did get the news until June 19, 1865 when General Granger proclaimed the slaves freedom in Galveston. For African Americans, June 19, the anniversary of the day, took on festive traditions and a new name, Juneteenth.
Reverend Jack Yates collected money from his congregation at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, the members of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, and other community leaders, to purchase property to celebrate Juneteenth in Houston, Texas. Resulting in Antioch Baptist, and Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church forming the Colored People’s Festival and Emancipation Park Association. In 1872 to honor of their freedom, they put down $1,000 payment on the purchase of 10 acres of open land for the home of their Juneteenth celebration, Emancipation Park.
The park was acquired by the city of Houston in 1918. During this time Emancipation Park was the only municipal park African-Americans could use until 1939 when Miss Annette Finnigan donated property to the city for a second one, Finnigan Park.
Keywords: African American, Antioch, Emancipation Proclamation, History, Houston, Jack Yates, Slaves, Trinity
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