Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Emancipation Park Conservancy?

Emancipation Park Conservancy is the steward of Emancipation Park. The organization manages andmaintains the park undera 30-year cooperative agreementwith the City of Houston.Emancipation Park Conservancy is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Why was the conservancy founded?

Emancipation Park Conservancy was established in 2014 to restore, manage, and enhance Emancipation Park. Its purpose is to create an open space of environmental and community excellence while continuing to preserve the integrity and historical roots of the park.

Its goal is to transform the park into one of the nation’s premier landmark parks and international destinations through capital initiatives, operational improvements, strategic partnerships, programming and events.

Who governs the Conservancy?

The Emancipation Park Conservancy includes a diverse cross-section of individuals, including City officials and individuals that represent the community that uses the park. There are 15 general trustees and two (2)ex-officio trustees including the mayor and the parks director. Together, these individuals work toward the common goal of preserving and enhancing Emancipation Park for future generations.

Who are the park’s sponsors and partners?

How do they benefit from contributing to the perseverance of the park?In 2016, the City of Houston executed a new, 30-year cooperative agreement to the Emancipation Park Conservancy (EPC). This agreement allows the city and the EPC to jointly manage the park.

Are any of the public’s tax dollars allocated to the perseverance of the park?  

Not at this time. This would only occur through the renovation process. EPC is currently working to secure public dollars for support.

What is Emancipation Park?

Emancipation Park is the oldest public park in Houston. During portions of the Jim Crow era, it was the sole public park in the area available to African Americans.  Sitting on 11.7 acres in the heart of Third Ward, the park includes numerous amenities and services available to the community. 

When and why was the park established and by whom?

The park was established in 1872 by a group of community leaders led by Richard Allen, Richard Brock, Elias Dibble and Jack Yates.  These community leaders were former enslaved African Americans who had little to nothing but saw a need for a place dedicated to celebrating freedom and serving the African American community, especially during the height of segregation. 

Why is Emancipation Park important?

Emancipation Park was founded and built by former enslaved African Americans in 1872 to serve the community, making it a unique historical monument.  It is the oldest park in Houston. It was the only green space for African Americans until 1929 when it was acquired by the City of Houston, and it is the only public park with a UNESCO site of memory designation.

How is the park different from any other public park in Houston?

The park is 150-years old, older than any other park in the city.  It has remained as the center of the community and a beacon of hope and empowerment for the community. It is also the only public park with a UNESCO site of memory designation.

How does the park benefit the community?

Emancipation Park offers recreational, educational, historical and cultural resources to help enrich lives in its surrounding Third Ward community and the greater Houston area. 

Is the park only for African Americans?

No. While the park was originally founded primarily as a resource for African Americans, all are welcome and encouraged to visit.

What amenities does the park offer?

The park includes both indoor and outdoor spaces for its patrons.

Indoor amenities include conference and meeting rooms, performance space, a gym and other gathering spaces. Outdoor Spaces include an open-air stage, sprawling lawn, playground and two pavilions. The park also includes picnic table clusters, a swimming pool and fields and courts for multiple sports.

Is the park open to the public?

Yes, the park is free and open to the public.  However, some spaces require permits, a nominal fee and/or reservations for use.

Is there a fee to take advantage of the park’s amenities?  Is a membership required?

Very few of the park’s spaces require permits, reservations or a small usage fee.  A membership is not required to visit the park and/or use its amenities.

Does the park host special events and activities for the public?

Yes.  The park hosts a variety of events, including the upcoming Emancipation Park 150th Juneteenth Celebration Presented by Kinder Foundation and periodic educational talks, seminars and training.

How many people visit the park daily?

Hundreds of individuals visit the park daily, participating in a variety of activities.

How do I get involved/how can I support the park?

Visit epconservancy.org or call 713.528.1872.

What measures are being taken to ensure patrons are safe while visiting the park?

Park rangers, the Houston Police Department and constables patrol the area.

What are the COVID guidelines for visiting the park?

We use the same guidelines as the City of Houston.

How has the park survived for 150 years?

The park has survived with the support of the community and the City of Houston.

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