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Texas History Texas Travel

USS LEXINGTON Museum on the Bay – Corpus Christi, Texas

USS Lexington

Families, school classes and scout troops won’t want to miss visiting the vintage WWII naval aircraft carrier that is now situated as a floating museum in Corpus Christi, Texas. The USS Lexington has had an illustrious career, and holds the distinction of having the longest term of continuous use and longest list of records set, more than any other aircraft carrier in the US Navy since it was commissioned in 1943.

The USS LEXINGTON was de-commissioned when the USS FORRESTAL replaced it as the Navy’s training center in 1991; it was brought to Corpus Christi and opened as a naval aviation museum for the American public in October, 1992. The USS LEXINGTON Museum has always been self-sufficient, receiving no funds from local, state or federal government agencies, but relying on revenues from grants, donations, admissions, ship’s store sales, special events, and the youth overnight program.

Now known as the USS LEXINGTON Museum on the Bay, popular tours on the carrier include the hangar deck, officer’s quarters, sick bay, galley, flight deck and bridge. And visitors will see the Quad 40 millimeter anti-aircraft guns up close, as well as a restored F-14 fighter plan and a Huey Cobra helicopter.  Camping is available on board by advance reservation.

Besides the original and restored carrier equipment, there’s a high-tech flight simulator and an IMAX theater for real-life, thrilling flight deck  experiences.

 

USS LEXINGTON Museum on the Bay

2914 N. Shoreline Blvd

Corpus Christi, TX 78403

800-LADY LEX • 361-888-4873

 

Visit the USS Lexington’s website here http://www.usslexington.com

 

 

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Texas Culture Texas History Texas Travel

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame – Waco, Texas

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame

No, we’re not talking about a baseball team, we’re talking about the historic Texas Ranger Division, the world-famous law enforcement agency that has been solving crimes in the State of Texas since 1823. Texas Rangers provided protection in the Republic of Texas from 1836 – 1845, and with a brief exception immediately following the Civil War, have done so since Texas became a state. At the present time there are approximately 144 Texas Rangers serving the Texas Department of Public Safety as the State Bureau of Investigation from their present headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Since the beginning, Texas Rangers have been dispatched to investigate murders, squelch riots, make fugitive apprehensions, and serve as paramilitary forces when necessary. Two famous Texas Ranger apprehensions in the Old West include gunfighter John Wesley Hardin and the infamous bank robbers, murderers, and car thieves, Bonnie and Clyde.

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas is located near the site of the original Texas Ranger Fort Fisher, established in 1837. Here visitors will see guns, rifles, Indian artifacts and western art on display. The entire Museum compound includes the Homer Garrison, Jr. museum gallery, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, the Texas Ranger Research Center and the Headquarters of Texas Rangers Company “F”. Students, authors and movie producers use the Research Center to portray authentic Texas Ranger and Old West garments and munitions.

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame

100 Texas Ranger Trail

Waco, TX 76706

254-750-8631

Museum Hours: Open 9 am – Close 5 pm Monday-Sunday; last Guest Admitted at 4:30 pm; Closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years & snow and ice.

Vist the Texas Ranger’s website here http://texasranger.org/

 

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Texas Culture Texas History Texas Travel

The Story Of Texas Museum – Austin, Texas

The Story of Texas Museum

Named after a former state Lieutenant Governor, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum opened in April of 2001. Funded by the Texas State Legislature and reviewed and approved by respected state historians, the high-tech museum offers numerous interactive exhibits, special effects and an IMAX theatre to provide a Texas experience that is larger than life.

The museum facilities have been thoughtfully and thoroughly designed to encourage use by school teachers and other groups of young people. Educators will find lesson plans and other helpful materials, as well as tour scheduling information

here http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/education/educatorguides.html

and here http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/visit/pdfs/School%20Confirmation%209-22-10.pdf

Families and school groups alike can benefit by advance planning, since there is so much to see and do on all three floors of the museum. The first floor exhibits feature the landscape and native inhabitants of the area long before it was known as Texas, through the time period of the Spanish and French explorers, through the year 1900 when the entire area known as Texas was had been completely mapped out.

The second floor of The Story of Texas Museum traces the adventures of many people and nations in the process of Texas becoming an independent nation. Military battles and political accomplishments are all depicted on a 60-foot video wall with continuous showings. And the third floor points to the economic opportunities throughout the years, and pointing towards the future of the State of Texas. Naturally, the importance of cattle ranching, oil production, space exploration, medicine and technology are featured. Visitors see and hear digital presentation of real people talking about their accomplishments and encouraging us all to our own accomplishments today.

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum — The Story of Texas

1800 N. Congress Avenue

Austin, Texas

(512) 936-8746 in Austin or toll free (866) 369-7108

Plan your family or school visit here  http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/

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Texas Facts Texas History Texas Travel

Texas State Capital – Austin, Texas

Texas State Capital

It was back in 1839 when five mounted scouts rode across the Republic of Texas, looking for the perfect spot for a new capital city.  On the north bank of the Colorado River, in a central location, was a little settlement of four families called Waterloo. In September of 1839, fifty ox-drawn wagons hauled all the official furniture and records up from Houston and established the new capital called Austin among those original families in Waterloo.  Stephen F. Austin is known as the Father Of Texas because he took on the colonization efforts initiated by his father, and brought hundreds of families into Texas in the 1820s -1830s before he died, so it was a fitting honor to name the new capital in his honor.

The Texas State Capitol complex sprawls over 46 acres of landscaped grounds, and the centerpiece is the statehouse itself, constructed of native Texas Sunset Red granite. When the original capitol building that was built in 1853 burned to the ground in 1881, the existing granite building began construction in 1882 and completed in 1887. But when the zinc Goddess of Liberty statue was finally installed on top the capitol dome in 1888, the time had come to officially dedicate the new capitol building.

Visitors to the Texas Capitol are welcome on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Hours are subject to change. Please call 512.463.0063 for extended hours during legislative sessions which occur for 140 days every odd numbered year beginning the second Tuesday in January.

The Capitol Information and Guide Service is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The helpful guides furnish information and conduct free 30-45 minute tours of the building.  Capitol tours are conducted every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter. Tours are given during the following hours:

Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday: Noon – 3:30 p.m.

A thorough visitors guide can be found online here  http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/SPB/Plan/images/capitolwalkingtour_text.pdf

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Texas History Texas Travel

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

Established as the Manned Spacecraft Center in 1961, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (the Center) was named in honor of the late President. It is the primary facility charged design, development, and operation of human space flight in the United States. For nearly fifty years now, the Center can claim world-wide leadership in human space flight operations for NASA.

Beginning in 1963, Gemini IV was the first flight controlled from Houston, and then the Gemini program ended and the Apollo program began, having the original goal set by President Kennedy in 1961, of landing men on the Moon and returning them safely to earth prior to 1970.

The entire world watched television on July 20, 1969 as Neil Armstrong transmitted from the surface of the moon, “Houston, the Eagle has landed.” And then, a few hours later, he stepped down the ladder of the Lunar Module Eagle and spoke the now-famous words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he took those historic first steps on the surface of the moon.

In 1973, the Manned Spacecraft Center was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center and has functioned as the heartbeat of the United States’ manned space flight program since that time. Controlling flights for the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz programs through the current Shuttle program, resident scientists, engineers, astronauts and dedicated staff members continue to operate the historic and cutting-edge facility.

The Center is the base of training for all the astronauts, and it is the site of Mission Control, where world-class flight controllers monitor all the operations in space, including development, production and delivery of the Space Shuttle orbiters; the testing of spacecraft associated systems; the development and integration of experiments for human space flight activities; supporting scientific engineering and medical research; and the selection and training of astronauts and the operation of human space flights.

The Center and NASA had no real public educational presence before Hal Stall, the director of Public Affairs at The Center, jump-started the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. Stall and his group wanted to provide a world-class facility where the public could come for a hands-on experience of the NASA space program, and they wanted to do so without using tax dollars to fund it. So, the Foundation got support from many corporate sponsors, and eventually $68.4 million in tax-exempt bonds were sold to the public to complete the financing endeavor.

The Foundation hired Walt Disney Imagineering, the design and master planning arm of the Walt Disney Company. In conjunction with BRC Imagination Arts as a collaborating designer, the Disney team generated the initial concepts that would become Space Center Houston.

The goal was for reasonable admission fees to fund the day-to-day operation of the Center, as well as provide for the Center’s massive educational program. Another goal was to create an environment that would appeal to visitors emotionally as well as intellectually, through their hearts and not just their minds.

Thousand of school-age students benefit from these programs every year, all designed to entertain and excite young visitors, while telling the true story of space exploration in a realistic way, not as science fiction.

Get connected with the Johnson Space Center here http://www.spacecenter.org/

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Texas History Texas Travel

The Alamo

Built as Mission San Antonio de Valero, the landmark now known as The Alamo in downtown San Antonio was the first of five Spanish colonial missions that were established in San Antonio in the early 1700s. The goal was to Christianize and educate Native Americans. As was customary, a fort was built to protect mission activities, and the accompanying fort was named San Antonio de Bexar.

In 1718, the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico authorized Father Antonio de Olivares to establish the mission that would play a major role in Texas history as it became known all over the world as The Alamo. The church structure began construction in 1755, and less than a century later, in 1836 it became the “Cradle of Texas Liberty”.

One of the most heroic struggles in history took place in the old mission from February 23 to March 6, 1836. Outnumbered by the better-equipped and better-organized Mexican army led by General Santa Anna, the famous defenders of Texas died to the last man. Now their names adorn street signs all over Texas as well as the nation as a whole.

All that remains of the original fort is the Chapel and the Long Barrack. The Alamo museum contains relics from the fort and offers tourists narrations of Alamo history.

The Alamo Cenotaph is a monument erected to memorialize the 189 heroes of the Alamo, and it stands in Alamo Plaza, with the names encircling it, carved into the marble; William Travis, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Sam Houston, to name a famous few.

See the live Alamo Cam and other historic and current information here http://www.the-alamo-san-antonio.com/

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Texas History

Famous Texas Cowboys

These Texas cowboys represent the many men whose legendary spirit helped shape the American frontier. Though their heyday only spanned a short time in history, cowboys have been celebrated in art, film, song, poetry and western novels. The enduring romance with the west lives on because of the accomplishments of the famous cowboys and the countless deeds of those whose story may never be known.

Francisco Garcia
The Spanish – Mexican Vaqueros were the first cowboys of Texas. The legacy they left is seen today in every aspect of working cattle and cowboy culture. They were the ones who first perfected the equipment and techniques of the American cowboy. And so we begin this tribute to Texas Cowboys with a man of Spanish descent, Francisco Garcia.

The first organized cattle drive in Texas was a result of the American Revolution. General Bernardo de Gálvez was fighting the British along the Texas coast and needed supplies to feed his Army. So, in 1779 he sent Francisco Garcia with a message for Texas Governor Domingo Cabello authorizing a round up and cattle drive. In the San Antonio area 2,000 cattle were rounded up from local ranchers and missions. Francisco Garcia left San Antonio to drive the cattle along the “Old Opelousas Trail” and on to the “Old Spanish Trail” into New Orleans. This first trail drive in Texas began the trade between Louisiana and Texas. And as a result, the Spanish Army defeated the British along the Gulf Coast.

Oliver Loving – December 4, 1812 to 1867
Oliver Loving was Texas pioneer in the cattle industry as early as 1845. He was the first to drive cattle to the northern markets of Illinois in 1855 and Colorado in 1860. In 1866 he and Charles Goodnight set out with 2,000 cattle and 18 riders to blaze the Goodnight-Loving trail from Texas to Colorado. This went on to be a well traveled route to both Colorado and Wyoming. His legendary story was loosely portrayed by Robert Duvall in the Lonesome Dove book and movie by Larry McMurtry.

Charles Goodnight – March 5, 1836 to 1929
Charles Goodnight was a cattleman, rancher, philanthropist. He started as a cowboy, joined the Texas Rangers, blazed the Goodnight-Loving trail, became a rancher at Palo Duro Canyon and was one of the most wealthy cattle barons of his time. Goodnight crossed longhorns with Herefords to produce a more commercial breed of cattle. He also was instrumental in saving the few remaining herds of Buffalo from extinction. In their later years Goodnight and his wife Molly founded Goodnight College. Charles Goodnight’s character and story of his cowboy days was loosely portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones in the movie Lonesome Dove, a western novel by Larry McMurtry.

Bose Ikard – July 1843 to 1929
Many early black cowboys had previously be born into slavery and one of the most well known is Bose Ikard. Originally from Mississippi, Bose learned the skills of a cowboy when he came to Texas in 1852. After the Civil War he went to work for Oliver Loving and was a valued member on the now famous Goodnight – Loving trail drive. He worked closely for many years with Charles Goodnight and became a trusted friend. When Goodnight needed a someone to transport large sums of money, it was Bose Ikard who could be trusted for the job. The two men became lifelong friends. Indeed, Goodnight once said that he trusted Ikard more than any living man. It was Charles Goodnight who erected his headstone with the memorial:

“Served with me four years on Goodnight-Loving trail. Never shirked a duty or disobeyed an order. Rode with me in many stampedes. Participated in three engagements with Comanches. Splendid behavior. C Goodnight”
He is buried in the same cemetery as Goodnight in Weatherford, Texas.

There is a Texas Historical marker near his grave that says: “Born a slave in Mississippi, Bose Ikard came to Texas as a child with the family of his owner, Dr. Milton L. Ikard. He remained as an employee of Dr. Ikard following his emancipation, but in 1866 joined a cattle drive to Colorado led by Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. Ikard became one of Goodnight’s best cowboys and trusted friend. Following his work in the cattle drives, Ikard settled in Weatherford. He and his wife Angeline were the parents of six children when he died in 1929 at age 85. Goodnight had a granite marker erected at his grave.”

In 1997 Ikard was inducted into The Texas Trail of Fame and a statue of him can be seen at the Stockyards of Fort Worth.

John Baker “Texas Jack” Omohundro – 1846 to 1880
Texas Jack was a scout during the Civil war, a cowboy, trail guide for the U.S. Calvary, hunting guide for royalty, a frontier reporter and more. He came to Texas after the Civil War and worked as a cowboy and trail driver. Buffalo Bill Cody recommended him for the job of scout and trail guide for the Cavalry at Fort McPherson, Nebraska. In the 1870’s he starred with Cody in “The Scouts of the Prairie” stage shows. Texas Jack wrote for the New York Herald about his life as a cowboy and adventures of his scouting days. The public enjoyed reading about his exploits and Jack became the subject of many short novels. Texas Jack died young but during his life he was a well known figure.

William (Bill) Pickett – 1870 to 1932
Bill Pickett was a cowboy of African and Native American descent. He started working as a ranch hand at a young age and it was there that he learned the skills of a cowboy. He is most famous for inventing bull-dogging. He would chase the steer from his horse, jump to it, twist it’s head by the horns and bite the lip to to subdue it. The Pickett Brothers operated a horse breaking business near Austin. In 1905 he was hired on at the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch in Oklahoma. He worked as a ranch hand and became the star attraction at their Wild West Shows. Pickett was also featured in a silent film from 1921, The Bull-Dogger. William Pickett was honored as the first Black American to be inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1971.

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Texas History

Texas History for Kids

Here are some great resources to help teach your kids about Texas including lesson plans, field trip ideas and more!

Interesting Sites

Texas Beyond History –  a public education service of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin. Texas Beyond History covers not only the prehistoric peoples – Indians or Native Americans – but also much of the early history of the Spanish, French, Mexican, and Anglo explorers, missionaries, soldiers, miners, traders, and settlers who lived and often died in Texas. And later history, too – German farmers, Black freedmen, and Mexican American laborers among others.

Texas State Historical Association –  mission to “foster the appreciation, understanding, and teaching of the rich and unique history of Texas and, by example and through programs and activities, encourage and promote research, preservation, and publication of historical material affecting the state of Texas.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife – Step through the doors of historic homes and inns, and imagine the lives of the people who inhabited these places. Information on state parks, outdoor events, lodging and more.

Texas Arrowheads and Indian Artifacts Online Museum – Indian Artifacts from prehistoric times to the early Clovis and Tejas Native American tribes.

Institute of Texan Cultures – Texas’ Native Americans – Information, curriculum and activities for 4th graders.

Barbed Wire Museum – Everything you want to know about barbed wire and fencing tools.

Great Texas Field Trip Ideas

The Alamo – San Antonio, Texas
The Spanish mission which has come to represent courage and the cause of liberty for all Texans.

Texas Capitol Visitor Center – Austin, Texas
The Capitol Visitors Center encourages educators to bring students for guided tours of its exhibits. Also available are lesson plans, classroom activities, vocabulary lists and research topics for all grade levels.

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum – Austin, Texas
A dynamic educational institution that tells the “Story of Texas” with three floors of interactive exhibits and IMAX. A Teacher Curriculum Guide and poster is available for “Texas – the big Picture” – a film presentation of the wonders of Texas.

The Museum of Health and Medical Science – Houston, Texas
Take a fantastic, larger than life tour of the human body. The exhibit contains huge sculptures of human organs: take a seat on a giant tooth inside an enormous mouth, walk through a 10-foot brain alive with electrical activity, peer inside a colossal eyeball, or stand beneath a 22-foot-long backbone with ribs. There are interactive audio and video kiosks, hands-on exhibits, educational programs and science classes.

Battleship Texas & San Jacinto Battleground – LaPorte, near Houston
Step back in time to the days when the Battleship TEXAS was the pride of the U.S. Navy fleet and visit the world’s last Dreadnought. The San Jacinto Monument and Museum is dedicated to the “Heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and all others who contributed to the independence of Texas.” Located on the site of The Battle of San Jacinto where General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna.

Space Center Houston – Nasa Road One, Clear Lake
Space Center Houston provides an educational experience that’s out of this world. Take a look behind the scenes of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, visit the many interactive exhibits, see the Astronaut Gallery with spacesuits, touch a moon rock and more! There are educational programs for teachers and homeschool.

Texas State Aquarium – Corpus Christi, Texas
You not only travel an aquatic journey from the shore to the depths of the Gulf but also have the opportunity to observe dive shows, feeding demonstrations, and have a “hands on” experience with sharks, stingrays, hermit crabs, and more!

Dinosaur Valley State Park – Glen Rose, Texas
Dinosaur Valley State Park contains some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. The dinosaur tracks are located in the riverbed, so please call ahead to check on river conditions. The park also has 15 miles of trails, picnic and camping facilities.

The Texas State Railroad – Rusk or Palestine
Passengers may board the historic steam powered trains at either Rusk or Palestine. Both ends of the line have Victorian style train stations. The trip takes 1 and a half hours to reach the opposite station. Once visitors have arrived, they have 1 and a half hours to enjoy lunch, browse through the depot’s train store or take a short nature hike. Passengers then re-board for the return trip home.

Fort Worth Museum of Science and Natural History – Fort Worth, TX
Dedicated to lifelong learning and anchored by our rich collections, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History engages our diverse community through creative, vibrant programs and exhibits interpreting science and the stories of Texas and the Southwest.

George Ranch Historical Park – Richmond, Texas
Step back in time to experience more than 100 years of Texas history. A wonderful place for a field trip, this living history ranch has educational activities for kids of all ages. See and Learn about the skills of working cowboys, the role of black cowboys, early pioneers to Texas, a working blacksmith and more!! Call ahead to schedule a time for your group or attend one of many special events.

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame – Fort Worth, Texas
The newest attraction in the Fort Worth Stockyards is the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to 58 of the top cowboys and cowgirls in Texas.

The National Cowgirl Museum – Fort Worth, Texas
The museum has five galleries of exhibitions featuring western artifacts, photographs and art work, three theaters, a children’s area, research library, gift shop and more.

The Museum Of Western Art – Kerrville Texas
The Cowboys, the Native Americans, the Settlers, the Mountain Men and others who tamed the West… share their adventure through the rotating exhibits on display at the Museum of Western Art where the legend of the American West lives on.

Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center – Athens, Texas
This Center houses a hatchery, laboratory, aquarium, and educational center focusing on underwater wildlife in the state’s freshwater streams, ponds, and lakes. Features also include a wetlands trail, alligator exhibit, an opportunity to fish and picnic areas.

Vanishing Texas River Cruise – Lake Buchanan, north of Austin
Explore the awesome beauty of the Colorado River at Canyon of the Eagles – seasonal wildflowers, wildlife, waterfalls, cliffs and more!!

 
 
Nature Centers in Texas

Amarillo – Wildcat Bluff Nature Center

Austin – Austin Nature and Science Center

Bellaire – Nature Discovery Center

Brownsville – Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary

Boerne – Cibolo Nature Center

Dallas – Dallas Nature Center

Fort Worth – Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge

Houston – Armand Bayou Nature Center

Kerrville – Riverside Nature Center

Midland – Sibley Nature Center

Orange – Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

Padre Island – South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Weslaco – Valley Nature Center

Wichita Falls – River Bend Nature Works

Categories
Texas History

Bob Wills Statue Vandalized

Bob Willis Statue Broken Arm
Bob Willis Statue

On May 20, 2006 vandals knocked down the famous Bob Wills that stood in front of the Lone Star Music Store in Gruene, Texas. The arm was broken off and now Bob is wearing a sling.

Carved by local artist and musician Doug Moreland, the 8 ft. statue was loved by the people of Gruene and visitors who came to get their picture taken with it.

Bob Wills was known as the King of Western Swing. He and the band, the Texas Playboys, made a name for themselves in 1940 with the release of what was to become their signature song, the New San Antonio Rose.

His career included being a popular radio star and host, a movie star and performing at the Grand Ole Opry. Bob Wills was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

Bob Willis Statue Fallen
Bob Willis Statue Knocked Down

In 1973, Bob and the original Texas Playboys reunited to make a final record entitled For the Last Time. Bob Wills left this world on May 13, 1975. Bob’s style of music has influenced many musicians throughout the years and he is still loved by many today.

If you ever get the chance to visit to Gruene (it’s a wonderful place and you should really go!) be sure to stop by the Lone Star Music Store to see the statue of Bob Wills. Hopefully they will have it repaired!

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Texas History

Juneteenth in Texas

In Galveston Texas on June 19th, 1865, two years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a Union General read the news of freedom to the waiting crowd. This historic day freed nearly 250,000 slaves in Texas.

Today the date is celebrated throughout Texas and is a day to reflect and have pride in the accomplishments of African Americans.

To learn more about Juneteenth celebrations, please visit Juneteenth World Wide Celebration, a site that has information on Juneteenth celebrations, organizations and supporters in existence.