Every June, across the state of Texas, communities celebrate Juneteenth, the centuries-old observance and state holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States.
Juneteenth's origins began June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to declare the Civil War was over and that Texas slaves were free; the news arrived more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation became official on Jan. 1, 1863.
Today, Texans celebrate Juneteenth in a number of ways, but many common celebrations include community and church events, parades and parties.
This year Emancipation Day, June 19, falls on Wednesday. While there are events scheduled for that day, there are plenty of things going on to celebrate independence this weekend as well.
In Fort Worth, a number of events are being held including a BBQ cook-off, a 5K walk/run a parade, a singing competition and a basketball tournament. Fort Worth's event culminate with the Juneteenth the Stage Play Tuesday night. The events are being held at various locations -- click here to see the full schedule. Additionally, visit the Juneteenth Fort Worth web page here.
In Dallas on Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., head over to the Ron Kirk Bridge for a Juneteenth event with free meals from In-N-Out from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Music by Moore's Band, Dallas Youth Poets. Vendors will be set up along the bridge -- Sip Laugh Paint, Vaughns Jewelry, Aesthenic Photography, Jewel's Rhema, T-Shirts by Mr. Bowtie, art, face painting for kids.
On Wednesday, a Juneteenth Celebration will be held at Dallas' MLK Jr Community Center on MLK Boulevard from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The family-friendly celebration will also include a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new MLK Fresh Food Distribution Center. Get more info here.
The Dallas Historical Society will host a free event where Donald Payton, the president of the African American Geneology Interest Group, will discuss Juneteenth and will be followed by music from the South Dallas Concert Choir.
Several other events in Dallas run through the weekend of June 22 and 23, including a jazz concert, a parade and festival in Hamilton Park and the Juneteenth Jubilee at the Erik Jonsson Central Library. Read more here from VisitDallas.
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