Triad Cultural Arts, Inc. is proud to sponsor Juneteenth, a celebration of the country’s longest-running observance of the abolition of slavery. It commemorates the day when those enslaved in Galveston, Texas, the last geographic area in America where slavery existed, learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865. Union General Granger read General Order #3, that “all slaves are free.”
Slavery ended about a month earlier in North Carolina when Rev. S.G. Clark, a Union Calvary Chaplain, came into the African Moravian church in Salem (now Winston-Salem) on Sunday, May 21, 1865 and read General Orders #32 that proclaimed that “all persons held as slaves are free.”
As Texans of African American descent have migrated across the United States and settled elsewhere, they have taken the observance of Juneteenth with them. More and more descendents of slaves in other states are joining in the celebration and seeking in some instances to make the holiday a legal one in their respective states.
The Juneteenth Celebration in Winston-Salem can be traced back to the early 1990’s at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. In 1998 the Winston Lake Family YMCA began sponsoring a community-wide event and Mt. Pleasant combined their efforts with the YMCA. In 2005, Triad Cultural Arts sparked new interest in the celebration partnering with the City of Winston-Salem’s Human Relations Department, Recreation and Parks Department, Union Baptist Church and Food Lion, Inc. The celebration included a roundtable discussion at City Hall with Dr. Maya Angelou and local leaders and a festival at Corpening Plaza. The festival has been held at various locations in the city including Rupert Bell Park, Winston Lake Park, Coliseum Annex and on the 5th Street and ML King, Jr. Drive.
In 2006 the Synod of the Moravian Church, Southern Province, passed a resolution apologizing for the Moravian Church’s participation in slavery. In April 2007 the North Carolina Senate apologized for the Legislature’s role in promoting slavery and Jim Crow laws that denied basic human rights to the state’s black citizens and in August 2007 the Governor of North Carolina signed a bill sponsored by Rep Larry Womble and Rep Jones into law which recognized Juneteenth as National Freedom Day.
Join us as we celebrate and recognize those African-Americans who survived the inhumane and cruel institution of slavery. It is also on this day we pay homage to the ancestors who kept safe our language, songs and customs!
By connecting the present to the past, Juneteenth is a “homecoming” for all African Americans, helping to define their place within the African Diaspora.