2019 Theme – “Building Bridges”
By Will Johnson
TEXAS – Next Wednesday, June 19, marks the 154th anniversary of Juneteenth. This was the date in 1865, when word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the state of Texas.
It was nearly two and a half years – after the U.S. abolishment of slavery in 1863 – when Union Gen. Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation from a balcony in Galveston and African Americans in Texas were finally freed.
Since then, the date has become an international day of celebration and was officially declared a state holiday in 1980. Today, a Juneteenth monument on the Galveston grounds commemorates the occasion, while Galveston’s Juneteenth parade and festivities draw visitors from around the world.
Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings.
Houston County and the city of Crockett will host its 34th Annual Juneteenth celebration and this year’s theme is “Building Bridges.”
The Houston County festivities actually get underway with the Juneteenth Induction Ceremony at 6 pm on Thursday, June 13 at Crockett High School where attendees will be able to preview the Juneteenth Pageant.
The pageant itself will be held on Saturday, June 15, beginning at 6 pm, at Crockett High School. The “Women of Wisdom” will be honored during the pageant. Tickets for the pageant are $3 and are available from the contestants.
On June 19, the celebration of Juneteenth jumps into high gear with Juneteenth Parade through the streets of downtown Crockett. The parade line-up will begin at 9 am and the parade will roar to life at 10 am. The Grand Marshal of this year’s parade and celebration will be newly elected Crockett Mayor, Dr. Ianthia Fisher.
Once the parade makes its way through the downtown area, the Juneteenth Official Opening Ceremony will be held at the Groves Educational Foundation located along Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The pageant contestants will recognized and several guest speakers will reflect on both the significance of Juneteenth and what it means to them, on a personal basis.
Following the ceremony’s conclusion, the Juneteenth Youth Fun Day will begin at 2 pm with free food, bounce houses, water slides and music.
Cliff Robinson, creator of the Juneteenth.com website wrote Juneteenth is “…. a time for reflection and rejoicing. It (Juneteenth) is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.”
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at [email protected].