“I have to tell you that nobody is free until we are all free.” – Opal Lee

In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment made the emancipation of enslaved Americans a nationwide right, except for in the case of punishment for crime, a clause that many scholars believe to be a loophole for the mass incarceration of African Americans. Over 2,000 union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 – known as Juneteenth. Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, enforcing the absolute freedom of over 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state of Texas who were being rebelliously held in captivity at the conclusion of the United States Civil War.

Faith, Festivities and Food

While the first Juneteenth celebration was recorded in 1865 in Galveston, news of the celebrations soon spread across the state. One of the earliest recorded Juneteenth celebrations took place in Austin in 1867. Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a holiday in 1979, and as of 2021, Juneteenth has become a federal holiday.

Austin became a major hub for Juneteenth celebrations, eventually growing so large that African American communities needed to purchase or set aside land to accommodate attendees. Emancipation Park, founded in 1905, and later Eastwoods Park, were two of these early Austin locations. Original observances of Juneteenth included prayer meetings, the occasional baseball game, the singing of spirituals, live music and dancing. Today, Juneteenth is commemorated with beautiful parades, rodeos, barbecues and more. 

Q2’s Celebration of Juneteenth

This week, In partnership with our Black Q2 employee resource group, Q2 will honor Juneteenth with multiple opportunities for Q2 team members to learn about and celebrate the holiday. Our global community of team members will enjoy a virtual panel discussion on the importance of Juneteenth and a Lunch and Learn focused on how Black culture shapes our society. At our headquarters in Austin, we will continue the Texas Juneteenth tradition with a soul food lunch. Joining a Juneteenth celebration in your community or supporting Black-owned businesses are just two excellent ways to commemorate this meaningful and important holiday.

A Juneteenth celebration picnic at Eastwoods Park
Photo: Grace Murray Stephenson, Austin History Center, PICA 05481

A Juneteenth celebration picnic at Eastwoods Park
Photo: Grace Murray Stephenson, Austin History Center, PICA 05477B

Juneteenth Parade in Galveston, Texas, 2021


Written by Q2