Juneteenth, a national holiday, celebrates the freedom of the enslaved in the United States.

President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863, but it didn’t immediately become effective in all parts of the country, and Texas was one of the last states to get the news.

Juneteenth is a combination of the words June and nineteenth because on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved people were free. Also referred to as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day, Juneteenth is the oldest national observance of its kind in the United States. It is a commemoration of Black liberation from the institution of slavery and also a time to acknowledge the resilience, solidarity, and culture of Black Americans.

In 1996 Barbara-Rose Collins, the first Black woman from Michigan to be elected to Congress, first introduced the legislation to recognize Juneteenth Independence Day. There were joint resolutions in both the House and the Senate in 1997. By 2008 Juneteenth was considered either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday in forty-seven states and the District of Columbia.

In 2016 former teacher and lifelong activist Opal Lee walked 1,400 miles from Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to encourage Congress to name Juneteenth an official national holiday and create a sense of unity for all American citizens through its celebration. She walked two and a half miles a day to reflect the two and a half years that passed after the Emancipation Proclamation before enslaved people in Texas found out they were free.

Through the efforts of Opal Lee, other advocates, and members of Congress, support for state and national observances grew. On June 15, 2021, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill that made Juneteenth a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021; its first legal observance was Friday, June 18, 2021.

Cherokee County NAACP President Archie Doswell, Jr., says, “Juneteenth is a day of reflection and recognition that the rights and freedoms that we as Americans enjoy should not be taken for granted and that they must be protected, defended, and cherished.”

Since 2021 organizations throughout the nation have participated in Juneteenth events, and Cherokee County is no exception. This year there are several local opportunities for people of all ages to share in the celebration.

 

NAACP Chapter of Cherokee County Third Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Presented by the NAACP Chapter of Cherokee County

 

The Cherokee County NAACP hosts its third Annual Juneteenth Celebration at The Mill on Etowah in Canton on Saturday, June 15, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The free event includes live music, food trucks, a health booth, and activities for kids. The organization is especially excited about a new addition to the annual festival: a charity car show benefiting the nonprofit PAMAH Foundation, which raises community awareness of pneumococcal meningitis and helps fund prevention and treatment.

 

Woodstock Arts Juneteenth Celebration of Togetherness

Presented by Woodstock Arts

 

On June 15 in Woodstock, experience a Celebration of Togetherness presented by Woodstock Arts. The event takes place at the Woodstock Arts Event Green from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. Admission is free.

 

City of Acworth Concert on the Green Juneteenth Celebration

Presented by the City of Acworth

 

The City of Acworth’s Concert on the Green series features a Juneteenth Celebration on June 15 at Logan Farm Park. The event kicks off at 5:00 p.m., and live music starts at 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be available for purchase and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and folding chairs to enjoy an evening of musical celebration.

These events represent great ways to engage with community members, honor the history of Juneteenth, and exemplify the true meaning of freedom, equality, and unity.

 

 

You May Also Like…

The Sounds of Summer: 2024 Free Summer Concert Series Dates

Not Your Typical Festival

Annual Powwow Celebrates Mothers and Mother Earth

Hayden’s Review: AG Steakhouse

Best Face Forward

 

 

Subscribe to Enjoy Cherokee Magazine