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Artists unveil massive Juneteenth mural in town where holiday began

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

Aris Folley | The Hill | February 1, 2021

© Reginald C. Adams

A massive mural honoring Juneteenth will be installed on the day of the holiday in Galveston, Texas, where the celebration originated more than 150 years ago, according the group behind the effort.

The Juneteenth Legacy Project, a nonprofit corporation based in Galveston that seeks to "recontextualize the day as a pivotal moment in the arc of U.S. history," announced the move and released artwork for the project on Monday, which is also the first day of Black History Month.

The group said it will be developing “a 5,000 square foot mural and massive storytelling space” that will be dedicated on the holiday, which commemorates the emancipation of the final remaining enslaved African Americans in Texas and is observed annually on June 19.

The project, which the group dubbed the “Absolute Equality,” will “will display four portals depicting an evolutionary narrative.”

This is includes “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,” the group said.

The group said the installation will be located near the site of General Granger’s former headquarters.

Sheridan Lorenz, who co-chairs the group and is helping lead the effort, said in a statement on Monday that the “Galveston landmark—at the genesis of Juneteenth—will serve as a special space to reflect and expand our knowledge in a very public place, celebrating freedom, opportunity, and absolute equality for all.”

"We’re confident ‘Absolute Equality’ will serve as an iconic visitor destination and educational landmark in Galveston for school children, the greater community, and visitors from all over the world,” Lorenz added.


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