Thursday, June 16, 2022

Inkster to mark Juneteenth with city celebrations

The federal holiday on Monday, June 20, will mark Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved black Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African-American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865.

The Emancipation Proclamation took place Jan. 1, 1863 when at the stroke of midnight, all enslaved people in confederate states were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were Black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the proclamation spreading news of freedom.

In the westernmost confederate state of Texas, however, enslaved people did not become free until June 19, 1865 when 2,000 union troops arrived in Galveston to announce that more than 250,000 enslaved Black people were free by executive decree and the 13th Amendment. The day became known as Juneteenth by the newly freed people in Texas. 

Juneteenth is marked as the second Independence Day in the United States. While it was celebrated in the Black community, it was only declared a national holiday by President Joe Biden in 2021.

A city celebration of Juneteenth is planned in Inkster from 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 18 at Inkster Park, 1550-1676 John Daly St. in the city. 

The event, organized by Michigan United, will include music by VDJ Wada and an exhibition match with the Liberian Association of Michigan Soccer team. The soccer match will begin at noon.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a cookout basket and enjoy the food, fun, games and voter engagement. Seating will be limited, organizers said, so visitors should bring a chair if possible. 

The holiday will also be celebrated from noon until 2 p.m. June 18 at the Leanna Hicks Public Library where a free, country-style event is planned. Organizers said there would be food, square dancing lessons, horses and a rodeo demonstration.

The event will also be celebrated at the Floyd B. Simmons Building and Brookside Park during the weekend. The free celebration is slated to continue from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. June 17 through 19 at 29150 Carlysle Ave. in the city.