Juneteenth celebrated all over Houston area

District 1 City Council Member Ora Houston waves to spectators
District 1 City Council Member Ora Houston waves to spectators. Credit Jorge Sanhueza Lyon KUT
Author

20 June, 2017

Juneteenth is also celebrated around the world in places like Ghana, Japan and Trinidad and Tobago.

Every year across the country, African Americans and their neighbors in the community celebrate Juneteenth, the day that marked freedom for slaves in Galveston, Texas - June 19, 1865.

Event organizer Jasmin Smith said she remembers attending Juneteenth in Anchorage as a child and happy it's back now that she's an adult. So, they can see some positive activities happening in our community.

Mayor Sylvester Turner led rededication ceremonies at the Emancipation Park property, bought more than 140 years ago by ex-slaves who pooled their money to raise hundreds of dollars.

"We want to kids to be engaged, and each facilitator is in charge of telling a story", she said.

The blend of cultures is evident in the air, fragrant with burning incense and barbecue smoke mingling together, a sensory representation of African and African-American cultures. "It's history. We have to know where we came from to know where we're going".

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Recognizing and celebrating the positive parts of complex and contested historical moments (i.e., the moments when the oppression ended) is also an important and often effective way of creating national unity.

Sutton says the community support over the years continues to grow. "And we hope to emulate that tonight", Louis Sutton says.

Being a native Texan living right up the road from Galveston, maybe I've taken for granted that the 19th of June has always been a day of significance and celebration.

With so many holidays to celebrate in America, it may seem like a chore to learn of one more. Decades of collective action would follow as equality and justice for African-Americans advanced slowly, frustratingly, gradually, on our nation's journey toward a more flawless union. In something that gives a focus to all the other things he knows to be real.

Monday marks a pivotal point in American history.


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