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  • Writer's pictureDallas Area Visitors

Celebrate Juneteenth!

As the day comes closer and closer, I decided that I should do some research because I'm sure I'm not the only one that is not completely familiar about the celebration of Juneteenth and what it means (lets face it, who remembers all the high school history we quickly went over!) Wow, such a surprise in what I have found. I hope you find it as interesting as I have in my online research to relearn and share those history lessons with you! I hope you can find a place or way to celebrate this important, nationally recognized holiday.

Juneteenth is the oldest, nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day (also known as Freedom Day and African American Independence Day) has spread across the United States and beyond.

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. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It 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 over due. 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. 

General Order Number 3

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.

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."

The celebrations that followed the reading of the proclamation by General Gordon Granger began a tradition that has lasted for one hundred and fifty five years, and today is hosted in cities across America and beyond.

Juneteenth in Oregon

In Oregon, Juneteenth Oregon Celebration was founded 45 (48 now) years ago by the late and beloved community leader Clara Peoples. The celebration of Juneteenth Oregon dates back to 1945 when Peoples introduced the tradition from Muskogee, Oklahoma, to her co-workers at the Kaiser Shipyards in Portland. Upon moving to Portland in 1945, Clara Peoples was surprised to learn that the Juneteenth holiday was unknown in this part of the country. She introduced the holiday to her co-workers at the Kaiser Shipyards during their break being the first Juneteenth Celebration in Oregon.

Later Clara helped to initiate Portland’s annual citywide Juneteenth celebration in 1972. Juneteenth Oregon’s celebration starts with a parade, followed by the festivities which includes live music and entertainment, art, food, educational booths, cultural booths, community resources and a children’s play area.

According to the JuneteenthOR website, and Travel Oregon's website a celebration of Juneteenth Oregon will be virtual on June 20th, 2020 this year:

The city of Eugene, Oregon will have two festivals being celebrated on Friday, June 19, 2020, check out the article in the Eugene Register Guard here!

Check out The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR for their Juneteenth Celebration!

Our own Dallas Public Library has a display of Juneteenth information that is a great to check out!

What has piqued my interest the most is because of the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement that more and more cities and town are finally recognizing Juneteenth as the important holiday/celebration that it is. Here are just a few articles that I have found that may be interesting to you to see how important this holiday/day of remembrance has become:

Please remember that due to Covid-19, to check with the individual celebrations to understand what is required (masks, social distancing, etc) for all to be safe and have a great celebration.

Have fun and get involved in history!

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