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Juneteeth celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it is now celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States, with increasing official recognition.

It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.

Just a quick history lesson for my people in the back.

President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862. The emancipation proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free. The proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the United States. The proclamation didn’t become effective until January 1st 1863.

Almost 2 and 1/2 years after the proclamation was signed on April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. The western Army of the Trans-Mississippi did not surrender until June 2.

On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrive with news that America’s Civil War is over and that all slaves in the defeated South are free.

Juneteenth shouldn’t be looked at pervasively like a black thing, much like Kwanzaa. It’s a holiday poorly understood outside of the African American community. It’s not black culture but American culture. Every American should commemorate Juneteenth to give thanks and appreciation to those who suffered and survived the worst conditions and atrocities ever inflicted on a people in history.

Here in Atlanta, there are so many events happening.

  • The Juneteenth Atlanta weekend kicks off on Friday, June 18 at Centennial Olympic Park with music, art, vendors, and performances. But Saturday is when things really come to life with a parade commemorating freedom and Black history, as floats and bands march along the parade route. The free three-day event will wrap on Sunday at 8 p.m.
  • For a more chill Juneteenth celebration, consider joining award-winning bartender Tiffanie Barriere at the Atlanta Contemporary art gallery for drinks and conversations about the history of Juneteenth. Barriere is an influential figure in the bartending industry and will present her signature crafted “Red Drink.” Historically, red drinks have been a part of Juneteenth celebrations because of their ties to the West African hibiscus plant and kola nut. But it’s also consumed in honor of those lost to slavery. 
  • The City of South Fulton celebrates Juneteenth with a film festival, community outreach, and a finale concert. June 15-19.

Overall have fun, be safe and most importantly remember why we celebrate! Happy Juneteenth Y’all!

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