Group hosts Juneteenth celebration - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Group hosts Juneteenth celebration

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June 18, 2004

Albany- It's been more than 140 years since President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation ordering the freedom of all slaves, but it took two and half years after the order for the news to reach slaves in Texas.

"So, when they got the news, they had festivals and parties and had music, so that tradition has continued today in Juneteenth," says Dr. Judith Hatch, public relations coordinator for the Dougherty County Chapter of the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative.

The group is hosting a weekend long event aimed at bringing the importance of Juneteenth to Dougherty County.

"Unfortunately a lot of young children and youth in general, whatever race, they are taking their freedom for granted, so Juneteenth is a celebration to put us back in touch what the fact that freedom is a very special thing," she says.

The group has organized a parade, festival and gospel concert, but they say they want it to be more than just a celebration. They're hoping the event will help unify the community.

"The whole community, not just the black community, but the entire community can come in and participate and celebrate, because we all are Americans, and we all need to be together as Americans."

The Juneteenth Celebration will kick off Saturday at 9 AM with a parade down Pine Avenue and a festival at Tift Park.

The Gospel concert will be held Sunday at New Dimensional Christian Church from 5 PM to 8 PM. All events are free.

Posted at 4:20 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com