Officials with Emancipation Park are set to commemorate the park's 150-year anniversary with a two-day Juneteenth celebration.

The celebration is set to take place June 18-19 from 4-10 p.m. on both days. Ramon Manning, the chair of the Emancipation Park Conservancy Board, said in an April 18 press conference that the park space will be “redefined” for the celebration.

Parkgoers will be greeted with a gospel lineup, a kids zone, activations by local sports teams and a “family reunion-style activity” with performances from different groups, Manning said. Musical talent will include artists such as Earnest Pugh, Zacardi Cortez, Pastor Mike Jr., Monica Lisa Stevenson, The Isley Brothers, Kool and the Gang, Frankie Beverly and Maze.

“I encourage everyone to come out because no event at this scale has happened in any community of color in this city’s history,” Manning said. “We are extremely excited about what’s about to happen here at Emancipation Park.”

The event will be free, but ticket information will be posted to the park’s website and will be needed for admission.

In the week leading up to the event, lectures will be hosted in conjunction with different organizations on different issues, including a lecture on health and wellness with a focus on health disparities. Also in celebration of the park’s anniversary, the board plans to give out $150,000 in mini grants to partner community organizations.

Mayor Sylvester Turner also spoke at the press conference, highlighting the history of the park and its importance to the city. The land for the park was purchased in 1872 by four men who were all former slaves: Reverend Jack Yates, Richard Allen, Richard Brock and Reverend Elias Dibble.

In 1916, the park was acquired by the city of Houston, Turner said. It is the oldest park in Houston and in Texas, he said.

“Since 1872, the park has been a gathering place for families and members of the community,” Turner said. “The park has offered numerous programs and resources to further enhance the quality of life.”

Juneteenth honors the day in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger brought the news of the 1963 Emancipation Proclamation to Galveston, liberating Texas slaves.

The year 2022 marks the second year of Juneteenth’s recognition as a federal holiday. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said at the press conference she hopes the holiday will create opportunities while educating and creating a greater understanding of people of color.

“I really hope that this holiday is a human holiday that brings many different groups together,” she said.