What may be the first “official” celebration of Juneteenth in Richmond Hill will be held Saturday at J.F. Gregory Park.
The event, hosted by Bryan County NAACP Branch 5648, will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the park. The community is invited.
The inaugural commemoration of African American emancipation was organized by the Bryan NAACP’s Young Adult Committee, according to Adrienne Jackson, the committee’s chairwoman.
“Juneteenth is such an important moment in history that should be acknowledged and celebrated. It is a time where all can celebrate freedom, cultural diversity, and community,” said Adrienne Jackson, Young Adult Committee chairwoman.
The celebration at J.F. Gregory Park will feature food trucks, vendors, and music and is free and open to the public.
Members of the Bryan County NAACP will be on hand at the event to provide information and answer questions about the day, which is likely on its way to becoming a federal holiday after both the U.S. House and Senate passed legislation to make it a holiday this week.
Juneteenth is the oldest known commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger announced that the enslaved in Galveston, Texas were free by order of the President of the United States.
The announcement came two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863.
Although celebrated throughout the U.S. since 1865, Juneteenth has been more widely observed since the Civil Rights movement, providing a platform for the promotion of diversity and an opportunity for education about the sacrifices and challenges endured by enslaved Americans in their struggle for freedom.
This year marks the 156th anniversary of Juneteenth.