MLK Center to host Juneteenth celebration
The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center will host their annual Juneteenth Celebration on Tuesday, June 19 from 3 to 7 p.m. to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States.
Recognized by the House of Representatives in 1996 as the “true day of independence for African-Americans in this country,” Juneteenth is a day that marks the freeing of the last slaves in America. Even though President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, news hadn’t reached many regions far south. So, on June 19, 1865, when U.S. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, TX with a regiment of Union Army soldiers, he effectively freed the State’s 200,000 slaves. Former slaves began recognizing the date the very next year.
“Juneteenth serves as a historic milestone reminding us of the past, but it is also an opportunity to show pride in all that we have achieved since that time,” Natashia Cooper, Event Services Specialist for the MLK, Jr. Community Center said.
This year’s festivities will include fun and educational games, arts and crafts, free health and HIV testing, live music, spoken word artists, and food vendors. Though many activities are aimed at having wholesome fun, there is always a special focus on health and self-empowerment through education.
“Vendors are here to provide information about social services available within the community, resources for continuing education,” Cooper said. “We want to create an atmosphere of fun for the entire family.”
The Juneteenth celebrations in Dallas go back to the 1930’s in Fair Park, but the meaning of observing this day has remained the same; to acknowledge a major milestone in American history and to encourage a sense of community. It is a testament to the notion that no-one is free until everyone is free.
“Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, which is something we can all celebrate,” Cooper said.