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Juneteenth recognizes black history, culture

POSTED: June 13, 2013 1:00 a.m.

To share insight into the music, art, food and dance of the black culture, the Gainesville-Hall County Black History Society is hosting a free Juneteenth Festival from 4-8 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at Midtown Greenway and Park, 682 Grove St., behind the new Public Safety Complex in Gainesville.

“We are starting out small, but hope to add more to the festival in the coming years” said Barbara Brooks, chairwoman of the event.

Entertainment will include music by local band, Been There Done That, storytelling, dance performances, poetry readings and art from local. Food will also be available.

On April 16, 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed more than 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia. However, slavery did not officially end in the rest of the United States until after the Civil War in 1865.

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution formally ended slavery in the country. It was proposed Jan. 31, 1865, and ratified by 30 of the then 36 states in the same year. Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., marks the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act.

On Jan. 4, 2005, legislation was signed to make April 16 Emancipation Day, which is an official public holiday in the District of Columbia. However, the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves is celebrated in Texas on June 19; hence Juneteenth was born.

Most of the African-American culture has become diluted with the different and interesting ethnic cultures in America, but African-Americans continue to celebrate what is known and would like to share is known with the rest of the community.

For more information, call Barbara Brooks 678-858-0305.


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