Last year, Juneteenth — the celebration of the liberation of enslaved African Americans in Texas on June 19, 1865 — became a national holiday called Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Though slaves across the nation were declared freed by the Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863, Texas’s Confederate Constitution forbid Texas slaveholders from giving slaves their freedom. Only after Union soldiers reached Texas were the state’s slaves liberated.
Juneteenth was first celebrated in 1866, usually at church-sponsored events in The Lone Star State. As former Texas slaves moved to other states, they spread Juneteenth events across the South, with more commercialized ones in the 1920s and ’30s focusing on food festivals.
During the 1960s, Juneteenth celebrations were curtailed as gatherings aimed at expanding civil rights increased. In the 1970s, a resurgence and growth of Juneteenth activities occurred to spotlight African American freedom and arts.
A plethora of Juneteenth events will be available this year in North Texas.
Westside Baptist to Offer a Discussion of Community Leaders
Among the 2022 activities will be Westside Baptist Church’s Juneteenth Celebration entitled “Paying Tribute to the Journey. Honoring Our Legacy. Celebrating Our Future” at Lewisville’s Westside Baptist Church, 900 Bellaire Boulevard, on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at 7 p.m.
Senior Pastor Dr. Delvin Atchison will discuss history with African American community leaders, including Reverend Willie Rainwater, Mae E. Broadnax, a Fox-Hembry descendant, and historian and author D. J. Norman-Cox.
Reverend Rainwater and his wife Juanita have organized Carrollton’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade for 25 years. Mae grew up in Lewisville when it had only one traffic light and one constable. She recalls walking with her father along the creek and railroad tracks from Lake Dallas to Lewisville. D. J. has created innovative educational programs to promote appreciation for African American history, particularly among youth.
Lewisville to Present a Speaker, Movie, & Concert
The City of Lewisville will present a segment of its Lewisville Talks – City Speaker Series. Entitled “Juneteenth 101,” it will occur on Thursday, June 16, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. in the Huffines Performance Hall at its Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Harry Eady, founder of the Denton Black Film Festival, will introduce speaker D. J. Norman-Cox. He will speak about how his book Juneteenth 101: Popular Myths and Forgotten Facts debunks the untruths that have been perpetrated about the holiday since its inception. Afterwards, a Q&A session will be held, and the book will be available for purchase.
Also, attendees may watch Miss Juneteenth at 8 p.m. Directed by Fort Worth-native Channing Godfrey Peoples, the film depicts a former beauty queen and single mom preparing her rebellious teenage daughter for the Miss Juneteenth pageant.
This event is free to attend, but ticket reservations are encouraged. Reserve tickets at https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/lewisvillegrand/3489.
A Sounds of Lewisville concert will take place Friday, June 17, 2022. The 4 YA Soul Band will perform from 7-7:45 p.m. followed by headliner Don Diego Band from 8-9:30 p.m. in Wayne Ferguson Plaza.
Photos courtesy of Jackie Shaw, Social Justice Minister, Westside Baptist Church