Along with Father's Day, June 19 also marks a special African American holiday. This Sunday is Juneteenth, considered the oldest known holiday that celebrates the end of slavery. Juneteenth celebrates the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865. As the story goes it took two years for the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Texas. When the Union soldiers arrived with the news, the newly freed slaves of Galvestion, Texas rejoiced with large public celebrations thus starting a new tradition, Juneteenth. The idea of remembering this anniversary with public programs and family reunions soon spread throughout the south and migrated to the north. Today Juneteenth celebrations are also held in other countries around the world, including Ghana, Honduras, Japan, Taiwan and Trinidad and Tobago. The exuberance and joy of the first Juneteenth can only be imagined but coming together with family and community to retell the story to our children is always special.
For party and food ideas, check out B. Smith's book, Rituals and Celebrations in which, she creates her own version of a party and menu to celebrate this holiday and Coming Together: Celebrations for African American Families Harriette Cole (Author), John Pinderhughes (Author).