(San Diego, CA) In San Diego, thousands came out on Saturday, June 20, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth.
Organized by the Cooper Family Foundation, Juneteenth-in-San Diego has been held every year in June, for the past forty years. Their motto, “Keep Juneteenth Alive in San Diego” is free an open to the public. The annual festival brings together community based organizations, businesses and residents who line the streets of Imperial avenue to provide an educational, and cultural experience promoting community pride, in celebration of the history of Juneteenth.
Every year the event which started off in garage, is held outdoors blocking off streets located closest to 29th and Imperial. The joyous celebration features: Educational displays of historical facts, food vendors, book signings, guest speakers, two stages of music and dance performances and, good old fashioned community fellowship.
More on Juneteenth:
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to June19, 1865, the date that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
This date was two and a half years after Presidents Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to minimal number of union troops to enforce the Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and it’s festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures met with by newly emancipated African Americans. These celebrations on June 19th were coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a tie 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.
Juneteenth commemorates African-American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with joyous celebrations, guest speakers, music, and dance performances and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and planning for the future.
For more information on the Cooper Family Foundation visit: www.cfjuneteenth.com.