Tuesday, March 24, 2009

8th Annual Juneteenth Festival

Contact Name: Lenora Jarvis-Mackey
River City Community Development Corporation
501 East Main Street
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
Contact Phone: (252) 331-2925
Contact Email: rivercitycdc@rivercitycdc.org

March 16, 2009

River City Community Development Corporation Presents 8th Annual Juneteenth Celebration

The past often provides hope and inspiration for today. This weekend, people from across the Albemarle area will gather to remember the past and to celebrate the present during the 8th Annual Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 20, 2009. The festival, which is presented by River City Community Development Corporation will be held from 12 noon to 9:00 pm at Waterfront Park in Elizabeth City.

Organizations and communities across the nation celebrate Juneteenth to commemorate June 19, 1865, which is the day slaves in Texas received the news that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed all slaves. Unfortunately, the news reached Texas 2 ½ years after President Lincoln signed the document on January 1, 1863.

The multicultural celebration at Waterfront Park in Elizabeth City will feature crafts, ethnic foods, entertainment, health screenings, novelty items and special fun for children of all ages.

History of Juneteenth — "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free." When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the slaves in Texas did not receive this news until June 19, 1865 ... 2 years, 5 months, and 18 days after the Proclamation became law. There are several stories told as to the reason this information never reached Texas. The most often told is that of an African American ex-Union soldier, who was personally sent by Lincoln to deliver the Proclamation in Texas, leaving Washington, DC on the official date of the Proclamation – January 1, 1863. But the messenger was riding such a slow mule, that it took him 2 ½ years to reach Texas. After the war ended, Federal troops were ordered to go out and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. A regiment led by General Gordon Granger was sent to Galveston, Texas and arrived on June 19, 1865 to enforce the freeing of slaves in Texas. Thus June 19th was born. Over the years, people began calling this celebration of freedom Juneteenth. The first celebration of Juneteenth took place in 1866 and has grown larger than ever. In addition to massive amounts of food, a main part to the celebration is the re-reading of the Proclamation, followed by speeches and songs (usually spiritual), remembering the struggle to be free. And that’s what Juneteenth is all about: freedom. Not just from slavery in America, or the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, but freedom to learn one’s roots; freedom to join in one’s community, making it richer and stronger.

For more information about the Juneteenth Festival, call River City Community Development Corporation at (252) 331-2925 or email at rivercitycdc@rivercitycdc.org or visit our website at www.rivercitycdc.org. Vendors and Entertainment is needed.

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