Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman visits a dance hall that was built to help celebrate an important African-American holiday.
NOTE: You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on SUNDAY at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio instead of its previous Saturday spot on the schedule. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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Wright’s Park dance hall, located near Schulenberg, Texas, opened its doors on June 19, 1948, in honor of the African-American holiday Juneteenth. The origins of Juneteenth can be traced back to June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston and officially announced that slavery had ended in Texas. Today, Juneteenth is celebrated across the state with music, parades and other festivities. For years, Wright’s Park has hosted one of the biggest Juneteenth celebrations, with performances by such artists as B.B. King and Albert Collins. Through such historic venues as Wright’s Park, Juneteenth continues to be a celebration of the rich contributions African Americans have made to our state’s economic, political and cultural heritage.