Celebrating Juneteenth
Vintage Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrations in Central Texas date back to the 19th century, and were occasions for public outings and dressing up, as evidenced by this group gathered in Austin in 1900. Photo courtesy Austin History Center

Juneteenth, June 19, marks the date in 1865 when a Union general landed at Galveston to announce that all Texas slaves were free. This was two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the surrender of the Confederate Army.

In 1980, Juneteenth officially became a Texas state holiday, and in 2021, Juneteenth was officially designated a federal holiday.

Keep an eye on Bluebonnet’s social media pages to learn about area Juneteenth events. Email socialmedia@bluebonnet.coop to let us know of your community event.

Bluebonnet offices will be closed June 19 in honor of the holiday.



In the late 1800s, people who had been enslaved and their descendants in rural areas realized sharecropping would never lead to their dream of independence and true freedom. So, a movement began in Texas and other southern states for Black Americans to form their own landowner communities, unincorporated and remote from whites. They chose uncultivated rural land that was cheap or could be claimed as untitled.

Growth of these settlements, sometimes called freedom colonies, peaked in the early 1900s, with 31% of Black Texans owning land. 

About 400 of these settlements developed, including St. John Colony on the Bastrop-Caldwell county line, Nunnsville in Lee County and Mount Fall in Washington County. Get more information from the Texas Freedom Colonies Project at thetexasfreedomcoloniesproject.com.