For a long time, American independence celebrated a single day in history — July 4, 1776 — as a national day of liberation. But it’s not the only one.
June 19, 1865 is known today as “Juneteenth,” a landmark in the history of freedom and independence for African slaves in America. Juneteenth remembers and celebrates the day in which Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger general arrived in Galveston, Tex. and freed the last slaves in America, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and over two months after the Civil War ended with Robert E. Lee’s surrender.
This day went largely unobserved until 1980, when Texas declared it a “skeleton” holiday. South Carolina came around in 2007 and by 2008 half of all U.S. states had begun recognizing the day of liberation. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both issued Juneteenth statements as well as President Donald Trump last summer.
Today the Town of Hollywood marks Juneteenth.
On June 29 from 6-10 p.m at Wide Awake Park, also in Hollywood, there will be a Juneteenth Jazz Affair, kicked off by a show of “fashions from Dillard’s spring wear and items from Africa,” followed by a performance by Rivers & Company jazz group. Tickets, which include heavy hors d’ouevres and drinks, are $12 a piece or $17 for a couple.
And on June 30 from 11 a.m to 4 p.m at the same venue the celebrations continue with a Family Fun Day with art classes, a sweetgrass basket demo, a chess tournament and performances from African dancers and drummers. There will also be a cookout lunch at 1 p.m along with gospel singing at 2 p.m.