Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Many recognize June 19, 1865, as the date that ended slavery. Texas, at the time, was the furthest west of the Confederate States. Union Major General Gordon Granger read General Order Number 3 in Galveston ending slavery. By December 2, 1865, eight months after the end of the war, the United States ratified the 13th Amendment effectually abolishing slavery in the United States of America.  

On June 19, 1866, a large-scale celebration was coordinated in Galveston, and the celebrations continue today. Many Black Americans equate Juneteenth, which is also called Emancipation Day, to American Independence Day. While the celebrations started in Texas there are now celebrations in all 50 states and internationally. 

PDF iconJuneteenth History Article.pdf.

In honor of Juneteenth, the Arlington Public Library will hold a panel discussion over Arlington’s Black History and will launch the Arlington Black History Community Archive.

Echoes from the Hill – A Juneteenth Celebration of Arlington’s Black History

Wednesday, June 16, 2021, from 7 – 8 p.m. at the Southeast Branch Library

A documentary film crew sponsored by Arlington's MLK Celebration Committee, Inc. is currently developing a multi-episode history series telling the largely forgotten story of Arlington's Black past, tentatively called Echoes from the Hill.

Members of the documentary project will hold a panel discussion at the Library to share some evocative preliminary research they've gathered in the form of photos, maps, documents, and excerpts from interviews with elders and their descendants.

Together this research reveals a side of Arlington that many today might not recognize—unless it shaped your family's experience here:

  • Little known Black-owned stores, juke joints, and secret gambling clubs
  • The segregated Booker T. Washington School that went to 8th grade, and how it demonstrated the vital importance of education to Black families in town 
  • Carpooling twenty miles to attend I.M. Terrell High School in Fort Worth, because hometown Arlington High School did not accept Black students until 1965
  • A Ku Klux Klan rally in Arlington's Meadowbrook Park in the 1920s
  • Heroic Black soldiers and sailors of WWI & WWII
  • Black churches that created and shaped generations of capable leaders

Arlington Black History Community Archive

This event will also mark the official launch of the Arlington Black History Community Archive. This digital collection, created and hosted by the Arlington Public Library, will provide free searchable access 24/7 to many of the historical photos, recordings, and documents that will be featured in the Echoes from the Hill documentary projects. Visit our digital photo collection here.

This collection was created to honor, preserve, and communicate the rich heritage of Arlington's Black community. For more information on items in the archive or to partner with us to preserve your family's materials, contact us at LibLearningDist@arlingtontx.gov or leave a message for the Local History Librarian at 817-459-6795.

The Library is excited to collaborate and launch these projects. We welcome and encourage the community to participate by sharing their family history. Our goal is to help preserve Arlington’s rich and diverse history and to uplift everyone's story.