The history and importance of Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The 158th Anniversary of Juneteenth is being celebrated across the county and the history and importance of this holiday is being remembered through various events.

On June 19, 1865, Union Troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas with news of freedom.

This came nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln emancipated enslaved Africans in America.

Slaves who were still working for free and didn’t have access to education were now able to exercise their rights.

Crystal Washington, Executive Director of C.H.A.R.M. Character, Health, Awareness, Responsibility, and Maturity educates youth about the history of this holiday by hosting annual bashes at Spudder Park in Wichita Falls.

“Juneteenth means that we are celebrating how far as a people, as African American people,” Washington said.

“It’s about basically teaching the community and bringing awareness to the cause and what the Juneteenth holiday is about. It obviously has been important because it is a national holiday now”.

President Joe Biden officially made Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday on June 17, 2021.

The Vernon Juneteenth Committee held its annual volleyball tournament at the Boys and Girls Club to teach the youth while also having fun.

“I think that’s one of the main reasons that we do the actual celebrations,” Secretary of the Vernon Juneteenth Committee, Norris Thomas said.

“ To remind our youth and to teach our youth that it hasn’t always been as easy as it is and to look back upon those that came back before us. Also, to give them credence for all that they have taken and all that they’ve done to get us thus far so it is a history lesson for them and hopefully, it’ll be perpetual as we go from generation to generation”.

Several Juneteenth events are happening and you can find them here.