A Day of Learning
Visit Brother Joel Mackall in the History Tent to learn about the experiences of Black American people. Little ones will enjoy Afro-centric arts and crafts and learning something new in the Kid’s Tent.
History of Juneteenth
Worcester has commemorated Juneteenth with an annual festival since 1997. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that enslaved people were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation which had become official on January 1, 1863. To mark the anniversary of their liberation and honor the two additional years of slave labor endured by enslaved people in Texas, our ancestors celebrated Juneteenth. Many African Americans celebrated and continue to celebrate Juneteenth in the same way that white Americans generally celebrate the Fourth of July.
Commemmorating 400 years
This year we are commemorating the 400 year anniversary of the first ship of enslaved people coming to the United States. On August 20, 1619, a ship carrying “20 and odd negroes” landed in Jamestown, Virginia. This marked the official beginning of chattel slavery in the United States of America. This is not something that needs to be celebrated but rather simply acknowledged. There is no way to know exactly how many lost their lives in slave dungeons, on ships during the middle passage, from the brutalities of slavery, in fights and movements for freedom but the Juneteenth Committee and Worcester community must, at the very least, remember that this happened and is still happening.
Commitee and Worcester community
Each year, a committee of community members puts on the Worcester Juneteenth Festival. This year, Laurie Abernathy, Fabian Glen, Gloria Hall, Parlee Jones, Sha-Asia Medina, Kevin Odom, Doreen Samuels and Fred Taylor have all contributed their time and energy to bringing this event to the city of Worcester. We are looking forward to this year’s festival and know it is going to be as incredible as it has been in the past.
We hope to see you all at Institute Park on June 22, to celebrate freedom and remember our-story!
For more information, visit: the Juneteenth celebration website!