The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, freed slaves from southern states in rebellion against the United States during the Civil War. News of the signing did not reach Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865. On June 19th (shortened to JUNETEENTH), slaves flooded the streets, rejoicing in their newly discovered freedom. The sweet smell of barbecue smoke filled the air! Dancing feet pounded the ground and voices sung out, as this day, JUNETEENTH, would forever commemorate African American freedom!
President Lincoln, had no legal power to single-handedly terminate the institution of slavery. Congress proposed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, on February 1, 1865, and ratified it on December 6, 1865.
Communities nationwide have adopted JUNETEENTH as an occasion to celebrate African American culture and traditions, and as an opportunity to acknowledge contributions African Americans have made to the fabric of America. Events like Chinese New Year, Cinco de Mayo, and JUNETEENTH, celebrate diversity, and unify our nation when we celebrate together.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
10 am to 6 pm
The Berkeley Juneteenth Festival, held annually in June in south Berkeley’s five-block Alcatraz-Adeline corridor, is produced by Berkeley Juneteenth Association, Inc. (BJAI), a non profit organized in 1987, whose mission is:
“To promote greater societal growth and community cohesiveness in the City of Berkeley and surrounding environs through educating and involving people of color in historical family, economic business, and cultural activities, culminating in
the annual Berkeley Juneteenth Festival.”