by Lisa Marie Albert
UNC Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
Forrest Hills Park was the location of Durham’s 5th Annual Juneteenth Celebration and Unity March.
The organizer, Phyllis Coley, announced that this year Durham’s event became the official Juneteenth celebration for the state of North Carolina.
Juneteenth, a shortened phrase for June 19th, is a celebration that gained its roots on June 19th, 1865, when the slaves in Galveston, Texas rejoiced after hearing General Gordon Granger’s announcement that all slaves had been freed.
This announcement came over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln.
Today, African Americans, joined with other races, are still celebrating this freedom from bondage.
Slavery has played a significant part in our nation’s history and upbringing. As President Obama’s statement from June 19th, 2009, reads: “African Americans helped to build our nation brick by brick and have contributed to her growth in every way, even when rights and liberties were denied to them.”
Obama’s statement also points out that 31 states are now observing Juneteenth.
VOICE Videographer Lisa Marie Albert filmed the celebration and recorded Coley’s account of the history of Juneteenth.