The day of June 19, popularly known as Juneteenth and sometimes called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest recognized celebration to remember the ending of slavery in the United States.

The historic commemoration originated on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union soldiers entered the city with information that the Civil War had ended and slaves were free. The news arrived in Texas more than two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the document which officially ended slavery in the United States on Jan. 1, 1963.

Some have wondered if the news was purposely withheld from the slaves for more than two years in order to maintain White control in the area, or if governing officials were truly unaware of the war’s outcome due to slow communication during that time period. Official reasons for the delayed freedom of slaves in Texas are unknown, but speculations continue to this day.

Today, all across the world, Juneteenth has grown into a celebration to observe the day Black Americans received their freedom, and a time to come together to celebrate, appreciate, and pay tribute to the African-American culture.

This year, Juneteenth celebration events are taking place in various cities around the country. Listed below are just some of the exciting and informative events happening this weekend in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland area.

List of Juneteenth Celebrations

June 17

8:30 a.m.
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council Prayer Breakfast
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045
For more information visit: http://nationaljuneteenth.com/Calendar.html

11:30 a.m.
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council Black Holocaust Memorial and Prayer Service
1301 North Carolina Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20002
For more information visit: http://nationaljuneteenth.com/Calendar.html

June 19

10:45 a.m.

National Juneteenth Worship Service
1630 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20009
For more information visit: http://nationaljuneteenth.com/Calendar.html

12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Maryland Historical Society Juneteenth Celebration
201 W. Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21201
For more information call 410-685-3750

 

Ashley Crawford

Special to the AFRO