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.
    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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora