Every year on or around June 19th, Americans celebrate Juneteenth to remember the end of slavery after the Civil War. Although Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation declared all slaves in rebelling states were free on Jan. 1, 1863, many slave owners did not recognize the proclamation.

Even after Robert E. Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865, news of the Union victory didn't reach Texas until May. It wasn't until a Union Army general arrived in Galveston on June 18th and read an order announcing that all slaves were freed on June 19th that freedmen learned of their emancipation.

Texas was the first state to recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday, in 1980. Annually, in more than 200 cities in the United States this event is celebrated. Texas and Oklahoma are the only states that have made Juneteenth a legal holiday.

Many young people often don't know or fully understand the African-American heritage and historical significance that Juneteenth represents. To many of them, the holiday has simply come to mean a day of food and fun. But to generations of older African-Americans, Juneteenth means much more than that. It's about family and freedom. To them, it will never lose its relevance. 

The history of how black people celebrated that day, now known as Juneteenth, is part of the story of Texas and also the story of how Texas influences the rest of the country. It symbolizes the end of slavery. Juneteenth has come to symbolize for many African-Americans what the fourth of July symbolizes for all Americans—Freedom. It serves as a historical milestone reminding Americans of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery. It honors those African-Americans ancestors who survived the inhumane institution of bondage, as well as demonstrating pride in the marvelous legacy of resistance and perseverance they left us.

Juneteenth was not a replacement for America's Independence Day, but black people needed something in addition that was about them, to lift them up. 

The 26th Annual Chickasha Juneteenth Celebration will be on June 14th – 15th, 2019 and the community is invited. The celebration will began with a parade starting 10:00 a.m. from Lincoln Elementary School and First Baptist Church on 1st and Dakota and end at the Wichita Valley Park at Henderson St. The Opening Ceremony starts 11:00 a.m. and the scheduled events start at 12:00 noon. The Keynote speaker is MG Michael C. Thompson, Adjutant General for Oklahoma.

There will be food, games, gospel activities, musical entertainment, sack races, basketball contest and more. Come to celebrate and have a day of fun!

Booth space is available for vendors.  Please contact Larry James at 405.209.0931 for application. 

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