A Juneteenth Celebration will be held at the Ben Johnson Park Wednesday, June 19 from 6-9 pm. The entire Natchitoches community is invited to attend. There will be hot dogs, water slides and music.
Event Organizer Randy Stelly has been involved with Juneteenth celebrations throughout the years. Friend and State Rep. Al Edwards introduced the bill that made Juneteenth a state holiday in Texas in 1979.
The Juneteenth festival, held annually on June 19, commemorates emancipation from slavery in Texas on that day in 1865 when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston to spread the good news that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved African Americans had been freed by President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January. 1, 1863, while the Civil War was still being fought.
“I celebrate June 19, however, it couldn’t exist without the Fourth of July,” said Stelly. “It’s not just a black celebration, but a memorial. Before Juneteenth could happen, hundreds of thousands of white men died in the Civil War to make it happen. Juneteenth should be a day of celebration and remembrance.”