Juneteenth, or June 19, is a celebration marking the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas learned that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished. The news — delivered in Galveston by Union soldiers — came 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1862 and becoming the law of the land Jan. 1, 1863.
Longview NAACP President Branden Johnson said the day helps the community remember the many contributions black people have made in building this country into what it is today.
"Having a day set aside like Juneteenth is important to celebrate the moment in history when a people learned that they were finally free," he said. "Everyone doesn't always agree on how we should celebrate — and that's fine — the point is that we're celebrating a cause that all Americans should celebrate: freedom."
Read President Obama's Statement Marking Juneteenth in Wake of Charleston ShootingTIME - A century and a half later, Americans still recognize this occasion, Juneteenth, as a symbolic ...Longview Metro Chamber of Commerce presented an Art In The Evening fundraiser at 7 p.m. June 19 at The Summit Club, with live music provided by the Alter Ego Jazz Band. Tickets are $35, with tables sponsorships available for $400.
Then, on June 20, everyone is welcome to a free day of fun and entertainment at Broughton Recreation Center. Juneteenth festivities include a parade, games, food as well as various vendors and activities.
Lineup for the parade begins at 9 a.m. along the Interstate 20 Access Road. The parade will make its way north on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Broughton Recreation Center.
Any vehicle is eligible to join and people with horses are invited to have them bring up the rear. Vehicle owners are asked to add a banner indicating the club or entity each represents.
The celebration continues the following weekend when the Real Cowboy Association presents the 22nd annual Juneteenth Black Rodeo at 7:30 p.m. June 27 at the Longview Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena.
It's a rodeo event for the entire family, and it will feature black cowboys and cowgirls competing in women's barrel racing, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping, junior barrel racing, breakaway, lady steer un-decorating, bullriding, wild horse relay races, and professional rodeo entertainers.
The Real Cowboy Association accepts monetary donations to assist individuals and organizations, with educational scholarships to be used for continuing education.
Advance tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Cavender's in Longview and Tyler. Tickets at the gate are $15 each.