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What Is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth symbolizes the end of slavery.
For many African-Americans, it has come to represent the same freedon as the Fourth of July does for all Americans. It serves as an historical milestone reminding Americans of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery. It honors those African American ancestors who survived the inhumane institution of bondage; it demonstrates pride in the marvelous legacy of resistance and perseverance they left us.

On June 19, 1865, upon hearing the news of the north's victory over the South, slaves in Galveston, Texas rejoiced in their new-found freedom with joyous shouts, dancing, hugs, tears and thanks to Almighty God. The joy of that day continues to be celebrated in communities across the nation as a reminder of the perseverance, strength and determination to survive the atrocity of slavery, and as a commemoration of the leberation of every American slave.

Since that time, annual celebrations have taken root, with a range of activities to teach, educate, entertain, and celebrate the contributions of our ancestors and the growth of African Americans as a people. Everything from rodeos and fishing to barbecues and baseball are typical of the activities surrounding Juneteenth™. Guest speakers and elders of the black community are called upon to recount the events of the past and prayer services are celebrated to ask for God's blessings for the future.

In Seattle, this year's occasion marks the 29th Year of the Juneteenth CelebrationTM. The Central Area Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the event each year and this year is no exception - Juneteenth will be held this year on June 3rd-5th.