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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid