Juneteenth Freedom Festival celebrated in Poe Park
The National Ghana Parade Council is holding a Juneteenth Freedom Festival in Poe Park on Saturday.
Paintings, artwork, and traditional African clothing will be on display at booths across the park. Music, storytelling, and the display of traditional pieces are all part of the day of commemoration for the national holiday.
Organizers say that while it is a day of celebrating their freedom, issues like mass incarceration show that African people still are not free today.
Today's festival aims to bring some current issues to light while celebrating the anniversary of the freeing of slaves, all while bringing a taste of Africa to the Bronx. The event kicks off at 2 p.m. and will go until 6 p.m.
Juneteenth celebrations began with enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. Although President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places in the South until the Civil War ended in 1865.
News that the war had ended and that slaves were free finally reached Galveston when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in the Gulf Coast city on June 19, 1865, more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.
Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”
Slavery was permanently abolished six months later, when Georgia ratified the 13th Amendment. And the next year, the now-free people of Galveston started celebrating Juneteenth, an observance that has continued and spread around the world. Events include concerts, parades and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.
AP Wire Services contributed to this report.