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New Juneteenth Museum CEO brings generations of Fort Worth experience to role

Jarred Howard is the CEO of the forthcoming National Juneteenth Museum. The facility has a target open date of June 2025.
Courtesy photo
Kauwuane Burton Studios
Jarred Howard is the CEO of the forthcoming National Juneteenth Museum. The facility has a target open date of June 2025.

For as long as Jarred Howard can remember, his family and neighbors have celebrated Juneteenth. Now, as the chief executive officer of the forthcoming National Juneteenth Museum, he will help educate others on the holiday’s history and importance.

But, the fifth generation Fort Worthian emphasized that his role expands beyond the walls of the museum itself and into the community.

“This development, at the core of it, is about improving the quality of place in the city of Fort Worth,” he said. “To that end, I am really excited about having this role because it provides a platform to influence the continued evolution of the city.”

The museum will be the anchor of a new development at the corner of Evans Avenue and Rosedale Street in the city’s Historic Southside neighborhood.

In addition to the museum, the 50,000-square-foot facility will also host a food hall for local chefs, a business incubator, a theater for live performances, a flexible event space and other amenities.

The museum has raised one-third of its $70 million goal and plans to open its doors in June 2025.

Creating a catalyst for the economic rebirth of a long neglected corner of the community is an important piece of the project’s mission, Howard said.

“This neighborhood represents the epicenter of Black culture, history and commerce in the city of Fort Worth,” he said. “In the days before African-Americans were able to patronize mainstream businesses, they had this neighborhood.”

Howard joins Lauren Cross, who serves as executive strategist for the museum, and board chair Gleniece Robinson. Civil rights icon Opal Lee, as well as her granddaughter and the founder of Unity Unlimited, Inc. Dione Sims, also sit on the board.

At a March news conference, Cross said telling the story of Juneteenth is important for her not just as a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people, but as a global citizen.

Juneteenth commemorates the day that formerly enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865. Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in the coastal city more than two months after the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered, and more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Many places have celebrated the holiday for more than 150 years, but it did not become a federal holiday until 2021 – largely at the behest of Lee, who physically paved the way for its recognition by walking from Fort Worth to Washington D.C.

“I’ve had the unique opportunity to celebrate and observe Juneteenth in a number of cities and states across our country, even abroad … the significance of a National Juneteenth museum is really important and relevant for many people from the people of the African diaspora and beyond,” Cross said. “Everyone can see themselves and feel the impact of what the Juneteenth story can do for them.”

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.