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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid