Juneeteenth is a celebration that begin around 1865, to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, the Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas and announced that the war had ended and the enslaved were free.
This was a great day for the enslaved because approximately two and a half years prior President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery.
According to research, the delay was a result of unknown reasons; however, the most notable was mainly due to the number of troops in the union. Due to the limited number of troops in the Union, the Executive order was not enforced. There was simply not enough manpower to enforce the order.
However, in April 1865, after General Lee surrender, there was a new plan. When General Grant became the commanding officer, the regiment was much stronger; therefore, the troops had the power to enforce the Executive order.
Initially, when the announcement was made, there were mixed emotions. In the beginning, many shouted with joy while others cried. This was a time when many enslaved individuals took the time to reflect to see where they had come from. In the meantime, there were others that had to determine where they were going. Now that the enslaved were free, they had the ability to now make a decision about what was going to happen in their life. The enslaved now had, “choices!” What a great feeling this was for the enslaved. They were free at last!
Since the announcement of the enslaved being free back in 1865, many celebrate the freedom with a special activities. To commemorate the ending of slavery, Juneteenth began. During the celebration, there are activities that is associated with the history of slavery. Not only is this a time for African Americans but a time for others to learn as well. This is a time for education, empowerment, and self-improvement. Additionally, there are special foods, music, and other activities. In the modern years, the celebration is held throughout the United States. Juneteenth is also celebrated in local communities.
Here in Sacramento, Juneteenth is a week long event held throughout the city of Sacramento. During the week, there are many events that are historical. Some of the activities for the celebration consist of a VIP reception, which involves individuals such as the Mayor, Black Caucus, Assembly members and Senate.
Next, there is a two day festival at William Land Park. Additionally, there is gospel night under the stars. The festival celebration also includes a scholarship luncheon and essay contest. Another activity during the Juneeth celebration, is the Juneteenth Ball, which is a collaboration with Sacramento Black Chefs. Lastly, there is a golf tournament which involves some of Sacramento best players.
Juneteenth will be held June 19th – 21st. For more information visit http://sacramentojuneteenthinc.org/