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On June 19, 1865, the Union Col. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with a contingency of Buffalo Soldiers. Their mission was to inform the area's Black inhabitants of the Civil War’s end two months earlier. This news came two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed and issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Col. Granger delivered General Order #3 which finally freed the last 250,000 slaves whose bondage persisted, due to the minimal Union presence in the region This proved that this area of slavery had been essentially unaffected by Lincoln’s efforts. June 19th—which was quickly shortened to “Juneteenth” among celebrants—has become the African-American addendum to our national Independence Day.
Observance of Juneteenth has traditionally tended towards church centered celebrations featuring food, fun, and a focus on self-improvement. Education by guest speakershas become a main focal point. Although initially associated with Texas and other southern states, the Civil Rights Era and the Poor People’s March to Washington in 1968, in particular, helped spread the tradition all across America. The event is now celebrated across the United States of America. Milwaukee and Minneapolis now host two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the nation.
On January 1, 1980 the state of Texas made Juneteenth an official holiday. Texas became the first state to grant the date government recognition. Several states have since issued proclamations recognizing the holiday, but the Lone Star State remains alone in granting the date, full holiday status. Government offices are closed and employees have the day off. Supporters and celebrants of Juneteenth continue to grow in number. Wherever African-Americans are found around the world Juneteenth is celebrated. Juneteenth is promoted not only as a commemoration of African-American freedom, but as an example and encouragement of self-development and respect for all cultures.
Most textbooks do not include information about this significant event in American History. The Riverside Juneteenth Committee since 1993 has worked tirelessly to bring the accomplishments of African-American people to the Inland Empire. The history of Afro-Mexican, Afro-Latino (people from Central, South America and the Caribbean are presented in vignettes throughout the Riverside celebration.
Juneteenth Celebrations are a time for communities to come together. In this light, community health and service organizations dispense information, local talent perform, while food and merchandise vendors add favor to this colorful day of family and community fun.
Your presence is requested. Bring the kids. They will enjoy the children activities.
Great Family Fun
All are Welcome