First to March, First to Engage

June 14, 2018

Public Information Officer


Juneteenth Freedom Day is a widely recognized celebration of the moment 153 years ago (June 19, 1865) when more than 200,000 enslaved persons in Texas found out that they were both free and independent from being considered as someone else's property. One-hundred-fifty-three years is slightly more than half of San Antonio's existence as a city, meaning Juneteenth---and slavery---has a few deep roots in the area. When the nation's first Juneteenth parade of the 2018 season took place June 2 in San Antonio, St. Philip's College students were among the ceremonial entrants. The San Antonio event was first because key logistical pieces were not available, and when the parade that traditionally coincides with the upcoming week of Juneteenth was scheduled early rather than the projected June 16 date, the college had two weeks to organize its participation early and appropriately. The college's 2018 Juneteenth project was confirmed with a single day of family friendly activity and engagement.

Paul Lede is the college's coordinator of student success.

"We all wore our college 120th anniversary shirts and were waving out the window and honking the horn in our van when the students inside the van decided to get their Juneteenth Freedom Day message closer to the people. Most people in the parade were in cars, and once we got halfway there in vans our students decorated by hand, the students said, 'We want to walk,' explained Lede. "After they got out of the vans, our students gave kids beads as they walked in front of the Sam Houston High School Band, and our contingent included Collegiate 100 chapter, honor society and student government members. The students were creative. They took time to decorate our van with beads, ribbons and banners in our college blue and white colors, so people knew it was us," said Lede.

The college welcomed all to join its contingent in the Juneteenth Freedom Parade lineup June 2. The parade lineup began at 8 a.m. at Sam Houston High School at 4635 E. Houston St. The parade started moving at 10 a.m. and the parade ended at Comanche Park #2 at 2600 Rigsby Ave.

For all details on participation with the college in the 2019 version of the Juneteenth march, contact Dr. Angela McPherson Williams, the college's director of student success, at 210-486-2090,, or Paul Lede, the college's associate director of student success, at, 210-486-2380. For details on the full Juneteenth parade agenda for 2019, contact organizers at 210-371-4770 or 210-227-7311.

CAPTION : Images of St. Philip's College's 2018 Juneteenth Freedom Day March experience June 2 in San Antonio are reminders that the parade traditionally coinciding with the upcoming week of Juneteenth was scheduled early rather than the projected June 16 date, and all enjoyed the day. (SPC images by Julysa Sosa)