WHAT: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and others will commemorate Juneteenth during the fourth annual Emancipation Trail Bike Ride that covers the route freed slaves traveled from Galveston to Houston in 1865. The event starts at historic Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church in Galveston where the Emancipation Proclamation was read to slaves on June 19, 1865, two years after it originally had been issued. Freed slaves traveled to Houston in a route that the National Park Service is studying its eligibility to include as a national historic trail. The 60-mile ride will journey through some historic locations before ending at Houston’s Emancipation Park, where Commissioner Ellis and Congresswoman Jackson Lee will hold a media availability to discuss Juneteenth and inclusive transportation.
WHO: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Other Bike Riders
TIMELINE: 7:30 a.m. Sunday, June 11: Bike Ride starts at Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church, 2013 Broadway in Galveston
Sunday Afternoon: Bike Ride ends at Emancipation Park, where riders will address media.(To find approximate time bikers will arrive, please contact Derek Darnell at 713-539-6194.)
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Emancipation Park | 3018 Emancipation Ave, Houston, TX 77004
Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis will host a 60-mile Emancipation Trail Bike Ride to retrace the route freed slaves traveled from Galveston to Houston after learning slavery had ended on June 19, 1865, the day now known as Juneteenth.
“I will be proud to ride alongside other elected officials, activists, and community members as I reflect on how far we’ve come as a county,” Commissioner Ellis said. “We will cover 60 miles across two counties on one of only two historic trails in the nation that celebrates Black history. We will retrace the path taken by formerly enslaved people as they walked to freedom.”
On Sunday morning, riders will start their journey at historic Ready Chapel A.M.E. Church, 2013 Broadway Ave. in Galveston, one of the locations where General Order No. 3 was read to announce the end of slavery in Texas. The riders will stop in Texas City, La Marque, Dickinson and League City to visit historic locations significant to African Americans. The National Park Service is studying whether the route is eligible to include as a national historic trail.
The ride will end at Houston’s Emancipation Park, where Commissioner Ellis and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who sponsored legislation to have the route named the Emancipation National Historic Trail, will have a media availability to discuss the significance of the Juneteenth celebration and inclusive transportation.
“Inclusive transportation is about freedom,” Commissioner Ellis said. “It gives everyone, no matter their generational wealth or ZIP Code, access to what I consider to be the American Dream.”
Harris County, with help from the County Engineering Department and the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA), is making significant investments in inclusive transportation, including $53 million for a HCTRA plan to add 236 miles of trailways throughout Harris County.
Part of that plan includes the Destination Trail, a proposed hike-and-bike trail spanning about 31 miles within Harris County through the cities of Houston, South Houston and Webster. The trail will serve over 270,000 people who live within a mile of the trail and is within walking distance to 17 schools, 25 parks, and countless culturally and historically significant places along the way.
“Like emancipation, inclusive transportation is a slow-moving wave,” Commissioner Ellis said. “And though we are free from slavery, we are not free from oppression. We are not free from structural racism. We are not free from policies that continue to decentralize, dehumanize and demoralize our communities.”