The city of Bloomington will host a celebration for Juneteenth — which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. — 2 p.m. Saturday at Switchyard Park. Juneteenth — also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day or Emancipation Day — marks the official day when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of emancipation.
According to a city of Bloomington press release, the celebration will feature games, music and free food from BBQ Train. All activities for the Juneteenth celebration will be hosted at the pavilion and Switchyard Plaza Spray Pad, according to the release. Event organizers are encouraging attendees to bring their own food, non-alcoholic beverages, chairs and picnic blankets to the event.
Attendees can also purchase products from several Black-owned businesses selling on-site. Vendors include Beads by Z, Diegodoodles, LEADBABY Flix and Tandem Community Birth Center and Postpartum House, Inc., according to the city of Bloomington.
According to the Associated Press, Juneteenth celebrations first began in Galveston, Texas, where news that the Civil War had ended and enslaved people were free reached residents of the town more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865 – two months after the end of the Civil War – and delivered General Order No. 3 stating all enslaved people in Texas were free. The word “Juneteenth” is a blend of the words “June” and “nineteenth.”
Slavery was not officially and permanently abolished until Georgia ratified the 13th Amendment in December 1865. By ratifying the 13th Amendment — which official abolished slavery in the U.S. — Georgia fulfilled the requirement that three-quarters of the states needed to approve a Constitutional amendment, according to the National Archives Foundation.
President Biden signed a bill officially recognizing Juneteenth, or June 19, as a federal holiday in June 2021.
For more information on the city of Bloomington’s Juneteenth event, attendees can visit the event page or contact Shatoyia Moss, the city of Bloomington Safe and Civil City Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.