News / USA

Annual Juneteenth Festival Celebrated Around the World

Annual Juneteenth Festival Celebrated Around the Worldi
X
June 18, 2014 12:20 PM
The news that US President Abraham Lincoln had emancipated slaves in the rebellious southern states in September, 1862, did not reach slaves in Texas until June 19, 1865, a few months after the end of the US Civil war. With the arrival of federal troops that day, and the end of slavery, the newly freed African Americans held a big celebration, which they called Juneteenth. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, Juneteenth has been celebrated annually ever since... and not just in Texas.
VIDEO: News that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had emancipated slaves in the rebellious southern states in September, 1862, did not reach slaves in Texas until June 19, 1865, a few months after the end of the US Civil war. With the arrival of federal troops that day, and the end of slavery, the newly freed African Americans held a big celebration, which they called Juneteenth. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, Juneteenth has been celebrated annually ever since... and not just in Texas.
Greg Flakus
News that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had emancipated slaves in the rebellious southern states in September, 1862, did not reach slaves in Texas until June 19, 1865, a few months after the end of the US Civil war.

With the arrival of federal troops that day, and the end of slavery, the newly freed African Americans held a big celebration, which they called Juneteenth, which is still celebrated annually — and not just in Texas.

There is always a festive mood in the days leading up to June 19th, or Juneteenth as it has been called here since June 19,1865.

That was when U.S. Army General Gordon Granger arrived in the port city of Galveston, south of Houston, and announced that all slaves were free.

Reflection on freedom

Houston Black Heritage Society Director Ovide Duncantell said, on Juneteenth, African Americans reflect on their struggle for freedom and justice. “We put more emphasis on this day than we do on the Fourth of July [US Independence Day], he explained. "Because, as you know, the Fourth of July was not a free day for us.”

Duncantell said it is important to educate younger generations about the meaning of the date.

Many black children have only a vague idea of what the holiday signifies.

“It is good that slavery is over and we can be free,” said one boy.

“Back in the day, the white people couldn’t be with the black people, but now we can be with each other,” a little girl remarked.

Annual celebration

Emancipation Park, in Houston’s predominantly black Third Ward, is where some of the earliest Juneteenth celebrations took place.

Story continues beneath video on this year's free Juneteenth concert at Houston's Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park:
Houston Draws Diverse Crowds for Juneteenth Celebrationsi
X
Greg Flakus
June 20, 2014 11:54 PM
People from many cultures and races come together in Houston Thursday to celebrate the freeing of African-American slaves in the area 149 years ago. As Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the annual Juneteenth holiday concert also celebrated the rhythms and sounds of Africa, with a touch of Chinese music in the mix.


The land was bought by former slaves in 1872, according to local performer and activist Kijana Wiseman. “Four men got together and they organized the blacks and they bought this land here, 10 acres [about half a hectare] of land, and they made it into a place where people could go celebrate Juneteenth,” she stated.

She said celebrations have now moved to other parts of the city, like the Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston’s Hermann Park, now being prepared for a Juneteenth concert Thursday night.

But community leaders are hoping to give Emancipation Park new life through a $35 million refurbishing, funded by the city as well as private donors.

The renovated park will be the scene of celebrations for the 150th annual Juneteenth next year, and not just here. Educator Marilyn Mandisa Douglas Jones said the holiday is now observed all over the United States, and overseas.

“It has now spread beyond the United States to other parts of the world.  It is celebrated in parts of the Caribbean, parts of Africa and in even in Russia,” she noted.

She said this is a celebration not just for African Americans, but for everyone. “No one is free until everyone is free. As Doctor [Martin Luther] King would say: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” Jones said.

And that, she said, sums up the spirit and importance of Juneteenth.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs