NAACP Lebanon Branch
The Lebanon County PA Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announces its Second Annual Juneteenth / Freedom Day Celebration on Saturday, June 18 in South Hills Park, 1100 South Lincoln Ave. in South Lebanon Township. The celebratory event, free and open to the public, is slated to run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Pavilion No. 4 and will include music, lots of delicious food, spoken word performances, dance, games and yoga for kids, a raffle, a community summit, and much more.
Juneteenth, made a federal holiday just last year, commemorates the end of racialized slavery in the United States. The date has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s. Receiving its name by combining “June” and “19,” the day is also variously called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day,” and “Emancipation Day.”
A bit of history: on June 19, 1865, more than two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox ending the Civil War, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African-Americans that the war had ended and that they were free. General Granger’s announcement put into practice the Emancipation Proclamation, issued more than two and a half years before on January 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.
“Freedom is the birthright of all Americans,” said Pastor Tony Fields, President of the Lebanon County NAACP, “and for that reason we are delighted to extend a warm invitation to everyone in the Lebanon Valley and beyond who believes in the foundational ideals of our beloved Republic – political equality, equal justice under law, accountable government, and all the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote and the right to be free and determine your own destiny – to join us on this very special day to help us celebrate that birthright of freedom.”