Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Galveston Island and the Juneteenth Coalition remember this holiday with a series of celebrations held June 8 - June 19.
“Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day,” said Ennis Williams, Juneteenth Coalition member. “It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience.”
Festivities begin with Gospel by the Sea on June 8 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 1420 31st Street. Other Juneteenth activities include a scholarship gala, African-American Heritage Exhibits at the Old Central Cultural Center, an African American Music Festival, and more.
The event will culminate June 19th with the Emancipation Proclamation reading and prayer breakfast at Ashton Villa to commemorate the historic event that occurred in Galveston, two years after it was enacted in 1863.
A Jubilee picnic continues the special events at Wright Cuney Park, 51st St. and Ball. The 8th Annual Juneteenth Springfellow Orchards Family Day in Hitchcock takes place throughout the afternoon of June 15 with entertainment for the whole family.
Galveston holds the distinction of being the place of the first reading of the Proclamation in the South. Texas State Representative Al Edwards sponsored two legislative bills establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday.
The History of Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society. - compliments of Juneteenth.com
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