Juneteenth set for weekend celebration
By Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader
Juneteenth commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States will be celebrated this weekend in Orange.
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.
One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”
Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self-improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations according to www.juneteenth.com.
This year’s event will include a Community Mass Choir and a Battle Choir competition. Mass Choir is open to all.
Saturday will host a cook-off for barbecue pit masters to show off who has the best tasting brisket, ribs or chicken.
The judged event will have one winner, who will receive $1,000, a trophy, a t-shirt and the ultimate bragging rights of the best barbecue in the area.
Juneteenth will be a three-day event Friday, June 14 – Sunday, June 16 at the Riverfront Pavilion in downtown Orange.
Tickets are required for the Sunday evening dinner. Price is $25 per plate. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.
The event is hosted by Lifeyield Enterprises.
The City of Orange proclaimed June 19, 2019, as Juneteenth in the city of Orange and urge all citizens to become more aware of the significance of this celebration in African-American History and in the heritage of our nation and city, according to the proclamation.
Salem United Methodist Church-Orange Pastor Develous Bright accepted the proclamation at the Tuesday morning city council meeting.
“I invite the council to be in the parade this weekend,” Bright said. “It is on the second day of the event at 9 a.m. at the City of Orange Boat Ramp.”