The Juneteenth celebration came about when the slaves down in Gavelston, Texas was freed due to the orders of President Abraham Lincoln. Although the president gave permission for all slaves to be freed 2 years prior, the slaves down in Gavelston didn’t receive their freedom papers until June 19, 1865. Some controversy has been apparent about why Texas didn’t get their freedom papers. Some say the man delivering them was killed on his way down, and some believe that the papers wasn’t sent. Once the papers were deliverd by the Union soilders, led by Major General Gordon Granger which read “All slaves are free” , some slaves ran towards their freedom and never look back, while others wasn’t so lucky. Some slaves were caught by their masters and hung and killed on sight. Slave owners refused to let their slaves go, and would rather murder them than to let them enjoy their freedom. On June 13, 1979, it became a state holiday for Texas. To this day, Juneteenth is a day for people to come together and celebrate the freedom of the black community. So I ask you; How Free are you today?
Richmond’s Cultural Ambassador, Elegba Folklore Society will present Juneteenth 2015, A Freedom Celebration on June 19-21 in Richmond, Virginia. This year the Society is collaborating, again, with Baltimore’s Ile Ise Ejiogbe If`a Temple. The RVA Celebration will feature entertainment, storytellers, speakers and much more. For a schedule of events go to EFSINC.ORG