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 all enslaved people in the United States of America were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation- which had become official January 1, 1863. To mark the anniversary of their liberation and honor the two additional years of slave labor endured by enslaved people in Texas, our ancestors celebrated Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day and Emancipation Day. Many African Americans celebrated Juneteenth in the same way that white Americans generally celebrate the Fourth of July.
Worcester has been commemorating Juneteenth with a festival since 1997. The Black Heritage Festival celebrates the past with consciousness to inspire the future. With your support, this year’s Juneteenth Festival will be just as incredible as the years before!
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