Valdosta Daily Times

June 17, 2013

Historic day celebrated

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — On January 1, 1863, Pres. Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, announcing that all persons held as slaves within the rebellious areas are and henceforth shall be free.

A political move by Lincoln, the proclamation did not end slavery immediately or in all states, but it served as a rallying cry for Union troops and for blacks to fight on the side of the Union to win their freedom. The Civil War did not officially end until June 2, 1865 and word of the Emancipation Proclamation did not reach the last stronghold of slavery, in Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865, more than two and a half years after it was issued.

Today, the 19th of June is recognized by almost all states as a holiday or special day of observance, and numerous events around the country take place at this time each year to commemorate the symbolic, final end of slavery in America.

In Valdosta, a remembrance dinner will be held tonight at Mathis Auditorium, featuring speakers, poetry and other entertainment. On Saturday, a Juneteenth celebration will be held at the Lowndes County Courthouse square downtown, with entertainers, speakers and much more.

Organizers locally are members of the Southside Library boosters, and proceeds from the Juneteenth events help with special events at the library throughout the year.

Everyone is welcome tonight at the dinner and on Saturday at the celebration, so come out and support the community, celebrate history and perhaps gain some perspective on race and equality in the U.S.