Galveston Juneteenth: Why has the island lost Black residents? – Houston Chronicle
June 17, 2022
GALVESTON — Island natives don’t have to be told that their hometown has lost Black residents. Sharon Batiste Gillins sees it every time she goes to church. Leon Phillips feels it when he drives down Church Street and sees vacant lots where Black-owned businesses used to be.
Galveston is the birthplace of Juneteenth, and reminders of that special distinction are scattered at historical sites along the city’s Freedom Walk, which traces the steps of Union soldiers who walked through the city on June 19, 1865, announcing that slavery had been abolished. But, over the years, the city’s Black population, which made up part of the island’s vibrant and unique culture,has gradually dwindled due to recent storms, industrial innovations and gentrification.