Emancipation Park and its deep-rooted history in Houston

Celebrating how far African Americans have come, and how much work is still left to be done

Reporter Joe Sam continues his journey around Houston spotlighting the significant landmarks with deep-rooted black history.

HOUSTON – It was known as the only park blacks were able to congregate at and is now known as the oldest park not only in Houston, but in the state of Texas. The effort in getting Emancipation Park was led by the Reverend Jack Yates, a Baptist minister and former slave. His church, Antioch Baptist, and Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church formed the Colored People’s Festival and the Emancipation Park Association.

The end of the Civil War resulted in a dramatic reorganization of society throughout the former Confederacy, including new freedom for the slaves. President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation and published it on January 1, 1863, but it did not reach Texas for two years. It wasn’t until General Granger proclaimed it in Galveston on June 19, 1865, that Texas got the news.

The park now host several in-person and now virtual programs which can be found by clicking here. Its purpose is to create an open space of environmental and community excellence while continuing to preserve the integrity and historical roots of the park.

About the Author:

Louisiana born and raised, award-winning journalist, Cajun chef and spoken word poet.