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Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1872 [unknown]
Location: Houston, Harris, Texas, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Houston Emancipation
This page has been accessed 127 times.

Related Space Page: Juneteenth

Emancipation Park is the oldest park in Houston, and is still used today for many indoor and outdoor activities. It is also a protected landmark, and is owned by the City of Houston, and is also supported by the Emancipation Park Conservancy. The address is 3018 Emancipation Avenue, in the 3rd Ward area. It was recently named a UNESCO historical designation, within the "Slave Route Project" category. [1]

Quoting the City of Houston Planning Department: [2]

  • Page 3: "In Houston, events were organized in different locations until 1872, when members of local churches — led by politician Richard Allen, Reverend Jack Yates of Antioch Baptist Church, and Reverend Elias Dibble of Trinity Methodist Episcopal, all former slaves — raised the funds to secure a piece of property specifically for this purpose."
  • Pages 4-5:
    • "A 10-acre lot upon which Emancipation Park would be established was purchased for $800 from Sarah J. Wellborn and Marshall C. Wellborn, the heirs of William Wellborn, on July 10, 1872. Genealogy researchers indicate that General William Wellborn had fought in the Creek Indian War in Georgia and Alabama in 1813-14 and moved to Texas following the death of his second wife. Sarah, his third wife, and Marshall, their son, inherited Wellborn’s property after his death in Houston in 1867, at the age of 75. "
    • "The deed recording the sale (which spells the sellers’ names as “Wellborm”) notes that the land was sold to Richard Allen, Richard Brock, Frank Keeland, John Sessums, Johnson Rice, Taylor Burke, Daniel Rilley, John Graham, and Tillman Bush “in their capacity as trustees of the Colored People of Harris County known as the Festival Association and their successors in office.”
    • "Houston’s Colored Emancipation Park Association (CEPA) was chartered on April 28, 1883 as a private corporation for the purpose of “celebrat(ing) the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas, for social enjoyment and mutual improvement, and to decorate and preserve the ground used for the purposes above indicated.” Prior to this action, the group had been an unincorporated body of trustees. The charter further stated that the Association was to be managed by seven directors. The first directors, serving a five-year term, were Robert Fairchilds, Josh W. Watson, Samuel J. Leonard, Hannibal Nohles [Noble], Benjamin F. Clark, Henry Franklin, and Daniel Carview [Carvin]. Josh W. Watson was the deacon of Antioch Baptist Church...."

Research Notes

Emancipation Avenue was previously called Dowling Avenue; the name change occurred in 2017. [3]


  1. Rice, Jen. "Houston Landmarks Earn United Nations Historical Designation". Houston Public Media, 9 May 2019. News Link
  2. Application for Protected Landmark Status. 2007. https://blog.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/files/legacy/EmancipationPark3018DowlingStreetR.pdf Archived Link
  3. Associated Press. 12 Jan 2017. "Houston’s Dowling Street To Be Renamed Emancipation Avenue" News Article Link

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