Juneteenth like so many of our holidays has evolved and the original meaning of the message of the celebration has become muddled along the years. Originally a Texas-based holiday, it is now celebrated throughout the nation by African Americans almost exclusively. It is not exactly the type of holiday advertisers can promote so you do not see many headlines and certainly no sales. But it is a day to enjoy community wide fellowship and this year Dallas is expecting over 4,500 visitors at the family focused festival from noon to 5 p.m., on Friday, June 19 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center.
June 19, 1865 the Union soldiers finally arrived in Texas and notified the slaves that President Abraham Lincoln with the Emancipation Proclamation freed them. One little detail – they were freed two and half years earlier on January 1, 1863. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
From that day on the former slaves celebrated what eventually became known as Juneteenth and on June 3, 1979 Texas declared Emancipation Day (Juneteenth) an official state holiday. Over the years, it has often become a time for family and church reunions in the African American community. A time to celebrate freedom, culture, and achievements.
The Dallas celebration is expected to feature vendors, a wide range of entertainment, plenty of food and activities for children.