Published 2:52 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Why do we celebrate?
On July 4, 1776, the 13 colonies claimed their independence from Great Britain, which is why we celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July Fourth every year. However, at that time, slaves living in what would become the United States of America weren’t yet free.
Even though President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves, occurred in 1863, it could not be implemented in states still under Confederate control.
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It was not until June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, that the last slaves became free. Hence, Juneteenth! In 2021, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making it a federal holiday.
Where can we celebrate?
Juneteenth festivities started last Saturday at the Old Armory Pavilion with the Linen on the Lawn event where the Soul Tones performed and attendees danced. The Oxford Juneteenth Festival will be held at the Oxford Intermediate School on Saturday, June 17, from 5 to 9:30 p.m.