As we are all aware, public opinion on race and criminal justice issues have been steadily sweeping across the globe over the past 3 weeks. Protestors are taking firm actions on reform at rallies; organizations are voicing their messages of solidarity; and change is occurring all around us. It is a time that we look to the past (the good and the bad) to educate our society on ways in which to continue moving forward in unity. Today. I wanted to take an opportunity to raise awareness on a holiday that many may have never heard of, and its 155th anniversary is coming up this Friday, June 19th: Juneteenth.


Juneteenth commemorates a large step towards African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. The holiday, which gets its named from the combination of June and Nineteenth, is also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day. Did you know, that in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln stated in his Emancipation Proclamation that “all persons held as slaves within and State…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” weren’t actually free? In fact, in Texas, it took another two years for slaves to receive an official order from General Gordon Granger.

Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger’s General Orders No. 3 | U.S. War Records


In 1872 community members in Houston Texas were able to raise $900 to purchase 10 acres of land which is today called Emancipation Park. In portions of the Jim Crow period, it was the sole public park available to African Americans, and it marks the first place where Juneteenth was publically celebrated.

The first celebration of Juneteenth | University of North Texas Libraries

Just recently in 2017 Emancipation Park received both restoration and expansion, ensuring its history to remain for many generations to come.

Project Architect | Perkins + Will

Texas was the first state to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday, and today 47 other states recognize this cause worthy celebration, including Colorado in 2004.


It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.
– Cliff Robinson, founder of Juneteenth.com.

Thanks for Reading!

Many milestones for me this week. Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday and today marks my 2nd year anniversary with the W8 team.

Matthew Murray | Architectural Designer
18 JUNE 2020