The celebration of Juneteenth will take place throughout the region on Saturday, June 19.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the southern United States that had formed the Confederacy. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it is now celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States, with increasing official recognition. It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed slavery in Texas and the other states in rebellion against the Union almost two and a half years earlier. Enforcement of the Proclamation generally relied on the advance of Union troops. Texas, as the most remote of the slave states, had a low presence of Union troops as the American Civil War ended; thus enforcement there had been slow and inconsistent before Granger’s announcement.
Celebrations date to 1866, at first involving church-centered community gatherings in Texas. Activists are campaigning for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. As of 2020, Hawaii, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states that do not recognize Juneteenth, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Some area observances include:
The Falcon will present a Juneteenth/Gospel Celebration in Words, Praise and Music on Saturday at 7 p.m. hosted by Bernard McClinton and featuring The Fabulous Rainbow Singers. The Rainbow Gospel Singers are the daughters of Bishop Mack B. McClinton and Bishop Addie B. McClinton; bought up in the Holy Light Pentecostal Church. This ensemble has traveled the US and Africa, and has ministered in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and to the homeless, spreading the gospel The Falcon is located at 1348 Route 9W, Marlboro. No tickets are required, but donations are encouraged.
A Juneteenth Celebration will take place at People’s Park, 1 Washington Street on Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with food, music and family activities. Admission is free
Unison Arts & Learning Center will present a Juneteenth Prejudice Project Launch on Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Unison is located at 68 Mountain Rest Road in New Paltz. Tickets are $25 apiece and are available at unisonarts.org
The event will feature talks from local history teacher at New Paltz High School, Albert Cook as well as an introduction to an upcoming restorative justice workshop series by Carol Bergman. The evening will continue with a performance by award-winning violinist & composer, Gwen Laster and her band, Gwen Laster & Gameboard with- pianist John Esposito, bassist Damon Banks and Peter O’Brien on drums.
Moroney’s Harley-Davidson is hosting Juneteenth Underground Railroad Freedom Ride on Saturday. Follow the path of the Underground Railroad in Orange County, starting in Port Jervis, through Florida, Goshen, and Chester to Newburgh. Final leg of the ride brings us into Highland Falls for the Juneteenth parade and community celebration. Riders can either meet at the Erie Depot in Port Jervis at 8:30 a.m. or at Moroney’s at 11 a.m. for the final leg of the ride to Highland Falls for the Juneteenth parade and community celebration.
The SPOMA (Sacred Place of My Ancestors) Committee will hold a Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, 1 – 4 p.m at Wooster Grove, 185 E. Main Street in Walden. Presented in conjunction with the Town of Montgomery, it will feature music, face painting, performances and more.