By Journal Staff Writer
Throughout the Juneteenth celebration held at the Frederick Douglass Community Center on Saturday, June 18, 1001 Indiana, organizers of the event said they didn’t need the day to be made a Federal Holiday for them to celebrate it.
Community organizations, vendors, and people from the community filled the space at the center to celebrate the holiday by listening to songs, spoken word, historical accounts about Juneteenth, learn local history of African Americans, and much more.
Co-ordinator for the event, Diane Gordon, is no stranger to celebrating African American events before those events gained mainstream attention. Since the late 1960s, her and her family have been celebrating Kwanzaa.
“Our theme for the day is Collective work, and responsibility,” she told The Toledo Journal. Collective work, and responsibility is the third principle of seven in Kwanzaa.
“Celebrating Juneteenth is important because we need to know what we’ve endured, and how far we’ve come from 1865 until now,” she said. “We still have a long way to go, but young, and old need to adopt the good we have from amongst ourselves, financially, academically, etc and advance ourselves. We’re here to celebrate today, and we shouldn’t let anyone take our freedom away.”
Juneteeth commemorates the freedom of America’s last slaves on June 19, 1865, two years after President Araham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery. Union troops arrived in Texas, with the decree, thereby ending slavery for 250, 000 enlsaved African Americans in Texas.
Juneteenth celebrations were held following the monumentum day, but under different names such as Freedom Day, and Second Independence Day. But as Jim Crow began to rise, in the early twentieth century, and the Great Depression hit America, the celebrations began to decline. It wasn’t until the civil rights movement that the celebrations of Juneteenth began to be celebrated again.