Juneteenth celebration planned in Milford

Terry RogersCulture, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

The second annual Juneteenth celebration will be held in Bicentennial Park on June 19 from 11 to 6

Councilwoman Katrina Wilson is leading the second annual Juneteenth celebration in Bicentennial Park on Wednesday, June 19 from 11 AM until 6 PM. Councilwoman Wilson and Councilman Jason James helped spearhead the inaugural event in 2023.

“Come out and join us with laughter and music and everything for the children like bounce house and the food is free,” Councilwoman Wilson said. “We don’t want parents to stay home because of lack of funds. We want to make sure that every child gets to enjoy, run and have a good time. We just want everybody to be together so we can enjoy one another and learn some different things because it’s going to be a diverse group of speakers. So, we’ll definitely learn from each other being there.”

Last year’s guest speaker was Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, noted Delaware historian. The holiday, which was declared as a federal holiday in 2021 and a state holiday the same year, celebrates the day when news that the Civil War had ended reached Texas, and the announcement was made that all slaves had been freed. This occurred two years after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. At the 2023 celebration, Dr. Hollingsworth provided details on the event.

“It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, when several union regiments of the United States Colored Troops, led by Gordon Granger, marched along with more than 2,000 Union Congressional soldiers, traveled to Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state with the news that the war had ended, and that the 250,000 enslaved people were now free,” Dr. Hollingsworth said. “Major Granger said the people of Texas were informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between the former masters and the slaves, and the relationship heretofore existing between them both, becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

At last year’s celebration, Councilwoman Wilson told the crowd she was excited to participate in the event.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate our heritage, culture and each other,” Councilwoman Wilson, who was the first African American woman on City Council, said. “I have been on city council for almost 30 years representing the people. At this time, I want to acknowledge those African Americans who served on City Council before me, William Penn Fountain, Douglas Gibson, Franklin Fountain and James Starling, Sr.”

Councilwoman Wilson hopes to fill Bicentennial Park with people in order to celebrate and lift each other up.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Councilwoman Wilson said. “Lift our brothers and sisters and all mankind up and the world is definitely a better place.”

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