MLK Center to host Juneteenth celebration
The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center will host their annual Juneteenth Celebration on Wednesday, June 19 from 2 to 7 p.m. to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States.
“Juneteenth, observed each year on June 19, is a day of reflection and pride,” said Natashia Cooper, outreach specialist. “It is recognized as the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S., dating back to 1865 when the remaining slaves in Texas learned they were free, two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.”
The Annual Juneteenth Celebration is a free family event, with local vendors, food trucks, live entertainment, fun and educational activities for children, free health screenings, arts and crafts for the entire family, and more.
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.
“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.