HOUSTON (CW39) Members of the Texas Southern University community are honoring Juneteenth at a variety of events – both on- and off-campus, as well as virtually, over the next two weeks.

Texas Southern University has a unique connection to Juneteenth, which celebrates the day that slaves in Galveston, TX, were notified of their freedom. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and announced the end of slavery. However, this news came almost two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. TSU alumnus and former state representative, the late Al Edwards (’66), initiated legislation to establish Juneteenth as a holiday in Texas. As a freshman state representative, Edwards, commonly known as “Mr. Juneteenth,” introduced the holiday in under House Bill 1016, which was signed into law in 1980.

Juneteenth is a celebration to commemorate the horrific period in our nation’s history and acknowledge the perseverance of our ancestors. Texas Southern University is committed to facilitating discourse and leading critical conversations, in the Houston region and around the state of Texas, to study and learn from our past as we charter innovative pathways for our future and continue to transform lives.

TSU President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young

This is an inaugural launching of the Juneteenth Texas Statewide Calendar & Website: www.tsu.edu/juneteenth. This inaugural launch event will be an annual Juneteenth celebration. This will be an invitation-only, hybrid event.  The reception will be followed by a roundtable discussion. The panelists for the roundtable discussion are State Rep. Ron Reynolds, David Lee Edwards (Rep. Al Edwards’ brother), and several others. Dr. Merline Pitre (Houston Historical Society, former TSU professor of history, and noted author) will speak briefly before the roundtable discussion. The roundtable discussion about Juneteenth will be recorded and made available on the website during the week of June 19. The event is in honor of the legislation spearheaded by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and passed by 46th U.S. President Joe Biden. It is also in honor of State Representative Al Edwards who sponsored House Bill 1016 in the 66th Texas Legislature making Juneteenth an official holiday in the state of Texas in 1980.