Citizens celebrate Juneteenth

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Brother Beating Odds, Stuntin Hard Riderz and the Juneteenth planning committee hosted the Third annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday at Lions Den Park in Orange.

“It is a old fashioned dance,” Deborah Mitchell said. “It is more than a cultural event. It is about fun, family and community.”

The event was funded through donations from local businesses such as Granger Chevrolet.

“The main focus is to express support, pride and the legacy,” Mitchell said. “It is also a celebration of Orange and Orange County.”

The festival is about freedom according to Larry Nelson of Brothers Beating Odds.

“It’s a festival of freedom of slavery, a fight for freedom,” Nelson said. “Our military today fights for freedom. Freedom is important, very important to everyone, not just a specific culture. “

Unification was the theme throughout the event as individuals were asked the importance of the event to them.

While Juneteenth is past for this year, the planning committee has already scheduled a meeting for the end of the month to start the plans for next year.

To participate in the planning or to make donations for next year’s event email Brothers Beating Odds at or their Facebook page.