Happy Juneteenth: NAACP Festival
On Saturday, I assisted a friend with his booth at the Juneteenth event. Before last Friday, I had never heard of Juneteenth. I didn't know what it was... So, like I do for all things when I don't know something. I went to GOOGLE!
"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." Source: http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm
Apparently, the county I have lived in since I moved to Atlanta in 2005; the Cobb County Branch of the NAACP has held an annual celebration for "Juneteenth" for the last 11 years. The Festival started on last Friday night with Jazz under the Stars, Saturday with an assortment of vendors (food, jewelry, clothing, etc.), entertainment and fellowship; closing out on Sunday with a Gospel celebration.
Overall, it was a nice family affair. The weather was great and everyone I encountered while there was very friendly and had a pleasant spirit. No violence occurred; which is always a plus these days at these events and the gathering of so many people. All of the vendors were friendly and had some great products available.Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date. A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today. Rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball are just a few of the typical Juneteenth activities you may witness today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.
Below are pictures from this past Saturday: