6th annual Watertown Juneteenth

WATERTOWN, NY — The Watertown Juneteenth is a family friendly, education and arts, community event. Members of the local and surrounding communities are invited each year to share their various talents as part of this annual historical observance program. The 6th annual celebration will be held on Saturday, June 29th, 2019 from 12pm to 4pm at The American Legion, Post No. 61, 138 Sterling Street, Watertown, NY 13601. Admission is free and open to the public.

We are pleased to welcome this year’s special guest speaker, prolific author, scholar, historian, Dr. Molefi Keti Asante of Temple University, PA. Dr. Asante has traveled, lectured and written extensively. He has appeared in both film and television and served as both a national and international consultant. Featured arts performances will include music from the Jazz Ensemble of Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division Band as well as an array of community talent from opera to the blues.

Juneteenth (a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth”) celebrates the ending of legal slavery in America. It recalls the necessary military enforcement of emancipation and enfranchisement by American troops after the end of the Civil War. The story of Juneteenth relates one of many such enforcements, when on or about June 19th, 1865, two years after the Proclamation had been issued, and two months after the end of the war, General Gordon Granger and his Soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas. Granger announced from the steps of the Ashton Villa, that “in accordance with a proclamation…”, all those enslaved are free. The ensuing celebrations, observed annually whenever possible, became known as Juneteenth.

The year 2019 is significant as it marks four centuries since the documented arrival of captive African people in America’s first permanent colony, at Old Point Comfort, (today’s Ft Monroe) Virginia in 1619, before the arrival of the Mayflower (1620). Although African people are known to have been in North America prior to 1619, this marks the beginning of their forced migration as part of the birth of the United States. The National Park Service, including the recently designated Ft Monroe National Monument, and a number of 400th Commemoration commissions and initiatives, have been operating to recognize, share and reflect on these, and related moments in time that would effect global history forever. See also www.nps.gov/fomr , hamptonva2019.com , americanevolution2019.com .

About Watertown Juneteenth:
Juneteenth was observed for the first time in Jefferson County in June 2014, when a group of Fort Drum Soldiers, veterans, church and community members organized and presented a free program at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Watertown, N.Y. To learn more, email: watertownjuneteenth@gmail.com or call 315-775-4065.