Organizers are gearing up for Meridian’s annual Juneteenth heritage festival this Saturday at Singing Brakeman Park.
Juneteenth is a holiday celebration that marks the end of african american slavery.
“On June 19, 1865, general Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, TX, to inform the slaves of their freedom,” Louis Sutton said.
This was two and half years after president Abraham Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation, which declared that all slaves were free.
“General Gordon granger left D.C., sailed around the tip of Florida, entered the gulf, and landed at Galveston and began working his way back to D.C., going from plantation to plantation informing the slaves of their freedom,” Sutton explained. “In each case a glorious celebration broke out ending slavery.”
Meridian’s Juneteenth celebration began 14 years ago to honor the city’s african american business district downtown.
“We’re happy to see that progress is being made there, and hopefully we’ll be able to return to that area soon.” Sutton added.
Sutton also says this year’s celebration will be full of entertainment.
“We’ll have gospel music, r&b, blues, vendors, kids area. It’ll be a celebration similar to the one in 1865 hopefully.” Sutton said.
He explains why everyone should attend.
“Juneteenth is part of our history. We must embrace our history. We can’t pretend it didn’t happen. So it’s an opportunity to embrace our history.” Sutton said.