On June 12, Texans led by Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis rode the third annual Emancipation Trail ride from Galveston to Houston in celebration of Juneteenth. The Emancipation Trail follows the route that newly freed people took in 1865 from Galveston to Houston to spread the news of freedom and find a place to call home. Learn more in this KUT interview with Naomi Mitchell Carrier, CEO of the Texas Center for African American Living History.
US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee began the push in 2019 to start the process for the Emancipation Trail to be designated as a National Historic Trail. The bill was ultimately passed in early 2020 and the feasibility study is underway; it is expected to be completed in 2023. Once approved, the Emancipation Trail will be the second National Historic Trail in the United States that celebrates Black history.
The ride stopped at several sites that are integral to Black history in Texas: the Port of Galveston, the Reedy AME Church in Galveston, a historic Freedman’s settlement in Texas City, and Emancipation Park in Houston, among others. According to Ms. Carrier, there are 40 sites with existing historical markers between Galveston and Houston that could potentially become stops along the new Emancipation National Historic Trail.
BikeTexas thanks and congratulates this year’s riders, who came to celebrate and learn despite the heat. We continue to thank Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee for her vision and leadership in authoring this critical legislation that will at long last ensure that the Emancipation Trail is a destination known not only to Texans, but to visitors from across the country and around the world.
Check out pictures from the ride! All pictures are by Fernando Martinez and used with permission.