This year’s Juneteenth celebration lasted from June 2 – 19, 2019 and was full of parades and festivals, banquets, arts and crafts, family picnic, historical reenactments, gospel choirs, and the Miss Juneteenth Pageant. Festivities took place at several locations, including the Old Central Cultural Center, Ashton Villa, Menard Hall, and the Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church.
The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston was proud to support the 2019 Juneteenth celebration activities and to serve the African American community through health sciences education, research and patient care in keeping with its core value of diversity. UTMB has a legacy of changing history to improve health and improve lives:
- UTMB has stood with Texas – training the health care workforce, serving as a major provider of health care for Texas and their families and innovating the future of how care is delivered.
- UTMB opened in 1891 as the nation’s first public medical school and hospital under unified leadership.
- UTMB School of Nursing, established in 1890 as the John Sealy Hospital Training School for Nurses, became part of the university in 1896 and was the first nursing school in Texas.
- UTMB opened the first state-funded hospital for African Americans in Texas in 1902.
- In 1949, five years before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case called for desegregation of schools, UTMB admitted the first African American student into medical school in the state of Texas. That student, a Tuskegee Airman named Herman A. Barnett, would go on to break down other color barriers throughout his life and career. Despite his acceptance to prestigious medical schools at historically black universities (Howard and Meharry), the NAACP encouraged Barnett to attend UTMB to help desegregate medical education and the field of medicine in Texas. Barnett courageously agreed, earning his MD in 1953.
- UTMB is the largest employer of African Americans in Galveston County.
The Galveston Juneteenth Coalition was organized in January 2002 by Douglas Matthews (UTMB) and Ennis Williams (Old Central) coming together to help promote all Galveston Juneteenth activities during this historic time when African Americans in the south learned of their freedom from slavery through the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln and enforced by Army General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops. Happy Juneteenth 2019!