Approaching the third year of the Civil War, on September 22nd, 1862, President Lincoln issued an executive order known as the Emancipation Proclamation. This declaration was the announcement "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." The Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863. However, it was not until, June 19th, 1865 that Major General Gordon Granger and roughly 2000 Union soldiers descended onto Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Nearly two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was law, there were still more than 250,000 slaves in Texas.
Juneteenth was and continues to be both a day of remembrance and an opportunity for African-Americans to honor their history and celebrate Black culture with a focus on education and self-improvement. It's also a momentous occasion worthy of celebration. Pageants, parades, parties... cookouts, kick-backs, and car shows... rodeos, reunions, and receptions... every and any type of function to recognize the end of state-sanctioned slavery - there's a Juneteenth Weekend event being held near you or streaming online! I have one event from each state listed below.
Perkins Center for the Arts in Moorestown, NJ
If there is a Juneteenth event being held in your community, please consider attending with your family and friends. Slavery is not the culmination of who we are as a people, yet we have accomplished and achieved in spite of it. Not only is this a time to celebrate, this is also a time to reflect on our history through a contextual lens in a concerted effort to examine slavery and its direct impact on our country today.
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