Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” is a holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery in Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, some states under Confederate jurisdiction did not implement it until years later. It wasn’t until June 19, 1965 that Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, and Union General Gordon Granger announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree.
This holiday marks our second independence day and is the oldest nationally celebrated remembrance of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth brought a new era for people to shape identities independent of racial caricature, promote ethnic pride, and create economic prosperity for generations to come.
Check out the events below for places to celebrate Juneteenth in Austin with your friends and family this year.
Juneteenth Stay Black and Live Festival. Credit Mackenzie Smith Kelley.
Central Texas Juneteenth Parade & Celebration
Chicon St, Between E Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Rosewood Ave & Rosewood Park
This annual event is always a grand celebration. Starting at the corner of E Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. & Salina St., traveling down Chicon St., and ending at the corner of Chestnut Ave. and Pleasant Valley Rd. this parade is altogether a great time for friends and families to join in the celebration outside. Continue the party after the parade with a Juneteenth festival at Rosewood Park.
Stay Black and Live: Virtual Juneteenth Festival
This year’s festival has transformed from a parade and block party to a virtual festival. The theme for 2021 reflects on Black people’s initiative and willpower to free themselves and how it is through collective strength the Black community makes their mark on society.
Juneteenth Celebration Live
Encore ATX is celebrating Juneteenth in style with live R&B, reggae, Afrobeat and hip-hop music by Distinguished Soundz Band and Urban Mello at The Historic Victory Grill.
Juneteenth Driving Tour
Neill-Cochran House Museum
Experience Black West Austin from the comfort of your own car. This driving tour begins at the Neill-Cochran House Museum and winds through historic sites of Wheatsville and Clarksville, two of the original fifteen freedman counties established in Austin after the Civil War.
Juneteenth Rhythm and Ribs Festival
Lakeview Pavilion at Old Settlers Park (Round Rock)
This free, family friendly event features specialty food and retail vendors, a great music line up including Grammy award winners Eric Bellinger and Montell Jordan, and more.
Juneteenth Open Market
St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church (Pflugerville)
The Juneteenth Open Market is celebrating Black creators from Austin and surrounding areas. Noir Creators Space will host a total of 40 local black owned businesses offering but not limited to food and beverage, hair care and beauty, wellness products, educational tools, and more.
Buda Amphitheatre & City Park (Buda)
The Buda community's second annual Juneteenth Celebration will take place at the Buda Amphitheater & City Park pavilion. Expect music, barbecue and activities to commemorate Freedom Day for Black Americans across our country.
Historic Hopewell Rosenwald School Juneteenth Celebration
Hopewell Rosenwald School (Cedar Creek)
Tour the recently restored historic schoolhouse, an oral history of the school from former students and families, and enjoy refreshments and family-friendly activities at the Hopewell Community Club's Juneteenth Celebration. The Hopewell Rosenwald School was built in 1922 to educate young African American children around the turn of the century. It was closed in the late 1950s and was places on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.
To learn more about Austin’s Black cultural history, check out our Field Guide to the Soul of Austin.