Delaware celebrates Juneteenth one year after George Floyd murder
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of the story, the organizers of the Entrepreneurial Expo were misidentified. The organizers are Ashley Morgan and Autumn Jones. Additionally, the Delaware Juneteenth Association has changed the location of its Juneteenth Caravan event on Saturday. It will now take place at Christina Park in Wilmington.
Juneteenth is meant to be a celebration of the liberation of black people from slavery. A number of events across Delaware will honor the holiday on Saturday.
But Juneteenth is still clouded by a lack of transformational progress for blacks, according to those in Delaware asked by the Delaware Online / The News Journal to reflect on the meaning of the holiday. They cite economic injustice and violence against blacks at the hands of law enforcement as two reasons why they are not truly “free”.
“So we’re just a little bit free,” said Brenda Gunter, co-founder of the Delaware Juneteenth Association.
As black people grapple with this reality, there will be a number of events for them to bond with others across the state who share this sense of bondage.
Esteemed Bronx rapper KRS-One will headline the new Juneteenth festival at Rodney Square in Wilmington on Saturday.
The festival, presented by the Wilmington Public Library, also features performances by 10-time Grammy-winning R&B group Take 6; Wilmington emcee / activist Richard Raw with the group Word Warrior; Wilmington singer Nadjah Nicole from NBC’s “The Voice”; Wilmington’s Best Kept Soul group; and Delaware’s 17th Poet Laureate, The Twin Poets.
An address will be given by Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester.
Richard Raw, serving as a dual rapper and stage manager for the festival, said KRS-One and Public Enemy had a big influence on him growing up because they delivered conscious rap with educational lyrics.
Raw said the Bronx rapper was on his hip-hop “Mount Rushmore”.
“I think having KRS-One is meaningful because it’s June. It’s a celebration of what is meant to be a celebration of our freedom, but we have a long way to go, ”he said.
“But I think Juneteenth is a celebration of our rich history. And to have an artist who has taught our history throughout his life, we think that’s why he’s so important to this event.
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This first Juneteenth Festival should be one of the first big events of the summer in Wilmington.
The Wilmington rapper said he hopes black people will re-educate themselves on their history and embrace their own culture without having to apologize to whites.
“We have to teach our children, from a black perspective. We have to walk in the world, from a dark point of view. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, ”he said.
“Over time we’ve come to think that being Black means we’re inferior,” Raw continued. “But we don’t. We don’t have to be like everyone else. We can be exactly who we are.”
While Juneteenth is a cause for celebration of black culture, the holiday would be more meaningful if black people received a redistribution of wealth or reparations, he said.
“Repairs are a necessity,” Raw said. “There must be a reparations package passed that mends black people.”
“What is June?” “
Blacks in Delaware couldn’t celebrate June 19 until 1901, because that was when Little Wonder ratified the 13th Amendment to end slavery.
It is still necessary to take a step back to better understand Juneteenth.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger informed a reluctant community in Galveston, Texas, that President Abraham Lincoln had freed slaves in the rebel states two and a half years earlier. He urged residents to comply with the directive.
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Although Lincoln proclaimed the emancipation of slaves, effective January 1, 1863, slavers were responsible for telling them they were free, and some ignored the order until Union troops arrived. to apply it, according to Cliff Robinson, founder of Juneteenth.com. Texas is the last Confederate state to announce the proclamation.
While the emancipation story of Texas is the best known, other significant events in the history of emancipation took place on and around this date, said Steve Williams, president of the National Juneteenth Observance. Foundation.
The first known celebrations of Juneteenth began in 1866, he said, and spread across the country as African Americans migrated to new cities.
The Delaware Juneteenth Association has been celebrating the holiday from the start in Delaware. This year marks the 27th anniversary of the founding of the organization.
On Saturday, the organization will host a Juneteenth caravan that begins at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington, followed by a Juneteenth celebration at the Simpson United Methodist Church near Newport.
Last Sunday, the organization held its 24th Miss Juneteenth pageant. Sophia Hughes won the competition.
“We are not an organization that came into being all of a sudden,” said Sylvia Harris, co-founder of the Delaware Juneteenth Association. “We hit the nail on the head for 20 years, when Juneteenth was not popular, when people looked at us and said, ‘What is Juneteenth? “
Protests over the past year following the murder of George Floyd by former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin have generated a huge increase in national recognition for Juneteenth, Harris said.
Gunter, co-founder of the Delaware Juneteenth Association, thinks the party needs to be marked, even though equality and justice for black Americans still prove elusive.
America has paid reparations to Native Americans, Japanese Americans and Guam, she said. “Why are we not receiving reparations? ” she asked.
Nevertheless, it is still important to celebrate Juneteenth.
“I always say if you don’t know where you’re from, you don’t know where you’re going,” said Sandy Clark, co-founder of the Juneteenth Association. “We are still not free. But at least we can have a dialogue. We can still bring people to the reality of what we have been through all these years. “
Black business expo to support future entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs Ashley Morgan and Autumn Jones will host a small business exhibition on Saturday in Wilmington to teach future black business owners how to make extra money.
The couple run a health and wellness business called Women with a Vision. Through the company, they have organized empowerment events like the Saturday Exhibition, intended to inspire black people. This is the first event the couple will organize since the start of the pandemic.
The exhibit will feature around 25 small businesses selling clothing, Jones said. A hair salon will provide free workouts to the community. Teenage entrepreneurs will donate items such as lip gloss and baked goods.
“They’re going to tell other people how they got into business and what steps it has taken, and they’ll encourage other people to eventually go into business,” said Jones, of New Castle. “This event will essentially allow them to tell their story.”
Morgan said she knew the condition of black people in America was not perfect. But she believes events like this will help sow the seeds for change.
“Juneteenth, I believe, is the idea continues to be free. Of course, there are various areas in which we still feel captive in society, ”said Morgan, of Philadelphia. “But we have greater freedoms than our ancestors.”
Delaware Juneteenth Events List
Thursday June 17, 7 p.m. – The Hockessin Historical Society is sponsoring a presentation and re-enactment at Hockessin Fire Company – Station 19 (610 Yorklyn Road, Hockessin). Delaware historian Syl Woodford will discuss the Civil War and Juneteenth, while re-enactor Willis Phelps will shed light on a black soldier who was buried at a grave for African Americans near Delaware City. For more information visit facebook.com/HockessinSociétéHistoire.
Saturday June 19, 10:30 a.m. – Juneteenth Freedom Caravan will take place at Christina Park (4th St. & Church St., Wilmington). For more information visit delawarejuneteenth.org.
Saturday June 19 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. – The Juneteenth Festival is a new musical night in Rodney Square (1000 N. Market St., Wilmington) that will feature rap legend KRS-One headlining. He will be joined by artists Take 6, Richard Raw and the group Word Warrior, Nadjah Nicole, Best Kept Soul and Delaware’s 17th Poet Laureate: the Twin Poets. Registration is compulsory. To register or for more information, visit wilmington.lib.de.us or call (302) 571-7400.
Saturday June 19 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Juneteenth Entrepreneurial Expo at Ezion Fair Baptist Church (1400 B. St., Wilmington) will celebrate Blackness with a panel of entrepreneurs, vendors, a DJ, a fashion show and more. The event will be hosted by Kevin Turman. A mask is mandatory. Tickets cost $ 12 and the event capacity is 200 people. Tickets can be purchased on Instagram (2Women1Vision).
Saturday June 19 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. – The June Freedom Day celebration at The Green (Dover) will feature shows, food, vendors and activities. Bring a chair. For more information, contact [email protected]
Saturday June 19, 2 p.m. – Juneteenth Observance will feature the Reverend Provey Powell, Jr., Host Pastor of Mount Joy United Methodist Church. This event will take place at the Simpson United Methodist Church (907 Centerville Road, Wilmington). For more information visit delawarejuneteenth.org.
Sunday June 27, 5 p.m. – The fourth annual Freedom Gala will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Downtown Wilmington (700 N. King St., Wilmington). For more information visit delawarejuneteenth.org.
Andre Lamar is the reporting / lifestyle reporter. If you have an interesting story idea, email Andre Lamar at [email protected]
USA Today reporter N’dea Yancey-Bragg contributed to this report.