“Absolute Equality” will reimagine an approach to monuments and memorials to reflect the nation’s diversity better and highlight a story that was extensively buried or marginalized until 2020,” the project’s commissioned artist, Reginald Adams, said. “The storytelling space will give form and narrative to the beautiful, extraordinary, and powerful multiplicity, representative of one of America’s most influential and essential stories.”
The 5,000 square foot art installation will display four portals depicting an evolutionary narrative, including enslaved Africans being marched onto ships (including Esteban, the first nonnative enslaved person, who arrived shipwrecked on Galveston Island in 1528); Harriet Tubman, the leader of the Underground Railroad that ferried enslaved Black people to freedom north of the Mason-Dixon line; Abraham Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation; and most notably, Granger issuing General Order No. 3 on Juneteenth, flanked by Black Union soldiers. Significantly, the words in General Order No. 3, "absolute equality," will be incorporated into the installation's graphics.
Adams will create the permanent installation on the east elevation wall of the Old Galveston Square Building that overlooks the site (the former Osterman Building located at 22nd Street and Strand) of General Granger’s headquarters. Mitchell Historic Properties, the family of the late Cynthia and George Mitchell, owns the property. George Mitchell, a renaissance businessman and philanthropist, was a native of Galveston.
Currently, there is a simple plaque commemorating Juneteenth on the site where Granger issued the orders. The Juneteenth Legacy Project intends to sustain the art installation in perpetuity, one that provides a true legacy.