What is Juneteenth and where did it come from?
Juneteenth is a celebration that got its start in Texas as a response to the end of slavery.
News of the Emancipation Proclamation did not reach Texas when it became official in January of 1863 for some unknown reason.
There are legends surrounding the reasons for the lack of knowledge about the Emancipation Proclamation, such as it was kept secret deliberately and others, but no one knows for sure.
Over two years after the proclamation was signed, General Lee surrendered in April of 1865. Lee’s surrender ended the Civil War and Union troops arrived in Texas to enforce the end of slavery June 19, 1865.
Celebrating the anniversary of the day they discovered they were free was inevitable for the former slaves and the celebration grew from year to year.
At first Juneteenth was only celebrated in African American communities and often met with hostility from white community members.
Juneteenth celebrations flourished until the early 1900’s where public education and economic hardship had the largest impact.
During the Civil Rights movement, Juneteenth enjoyed a rise in popularity and became an official Texas state holiday in January of 1980 thanks to Al Edwards who has been promoting the holiday nation wide since.
What this means to you
Local celebrations of the holiday are popping up and residents are embracing the holiday.
Pulaski County’s chapter of the NAACP is holding a Juneteenth celebration tonight with a dinner and a dance at the ARK sports and recreation center. People interested in attending can still purchase tickets at the door for $15 for adults over 18 and $5 for children 6 - 18, children 5 and under are free. For more information call 336-1272