‘The second Independence Day’: New local Juneteenth celebration announced for June 22nd

May 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm | In High Point, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

Just announced – plans for a new celebration of Juneteenth – “the second Independence Day” – in West Seattle, set for June 22nd. Here’s the announcement (starting with some history), from High Point resident Liz Davis, shared by community builder Shukri Olow:

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.’

This summer will not pass without two opportunities to celebrate freedom, June 19th and July 4th. Do you remember your first Fourth of July? The first time you drove a car? What about your first kiss? Did you have trepidation and enjoyment at the same time? Were there Internal and external fireworks? Celebration and excitement? The exploration of something new yet unknown can bring many different, sometimes conflicting feelings.

That’s what I think the enslaved Africans in Galveston were feeling summer of 1865 when they received the announcement from the Union Major-General Gordon Granger, “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…” This announcement was two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law. Over the years the celebrations and realization of freedom have grown.

Are you ready to celebrate this summer? You may have mixed emotions about this celebration. You may not have heard of this day of independence. No matter how you feel about Juneteenth, The Juneteenth Committee invites you to celebrate FREEDOM. Volunteers of The African American community at High Point are working with community partners including Seattle Housing Authority Community Builder to bring entertainment, spoken word, and food from the rich and uniquely West African and American culture known by many different descriptions; Black American, Soul/Soul Food or African American, to name a few. Children and adults will have lots to taste, touch and eat at this inaugural High Point Juneteenth Celebration. Sunday, June 22, 2014 2-6 pm at The Neighborhood House High Point Center, 6400 Sylvan Way SW!

4 Comments

  1. As a TX transplant where this holiday was always celebrated, I do not understand why this particular “holiday” has spread nationwide, e.g., to Washington. Why use the TX date instead of the relevant and local dates for each state? If a local date is not relevant, why not the formal emancipation date or other relevant date?

    Comment by Ray — 5:22 pm May 28, 2014 #

  2. Some explanation in the last few paragraphs. http://www.blackpast.org/perspectives/juneteenth-birth-african-american-holiday
    .
    And from Washington’s statute, an excerpt: “… since 1980 June 19th has been celebrated as Juneteenth across the United States as a day for people to come together in the spirit of reconciliation to commemorate the contributions of African-Americans to this country’s history and culture.”
    .
    The full statute (which lists holidays and commemorative days in our state):
    .
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=1.16.050

    Comment by WSB — 5:39 pm May 28, 2014 #

  3. This is wonderful! It is fully a part of our national heritage, and entirely appropriate for it to be celebrated nationally.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 8:32 pm May 28, 2014 #

  4. Google “racial laws in Oregon Territory” for some interesting historical background.

    Comment by gina — 7:31 am May 29, 2014 #

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