West Badin community to celebrate Juneteenth

An inaugural celebration Friday at the West Badin basketball courts will celebrate and educate people about a moment in American history signifying the end of slavery.

June 19, or “Juneteenth”, celebrates a day in American history when the final slaves were freed, nearly 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s celebrated Emancipation Proclamation.

Friday’s event in West Badin will come on the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. Celebrations first started in 1866 in Galveston, Texas.

On June 19, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger and troops delivered a federal order to Texas freeing the last group of slaves. The Civil War ended in April but Texas, being one of the most remote of the former Confederate states, did not have enough Union soldiers in order to ensure enforcement of the proclamation.

According to Vonisha Gramling, one of the organizers of the event, guest speakers will educate the community on Juneteenth’s meaning and history. She added “a lot of people as well as myself don’t know much of our history…that is our Independence Day.”

There will be activities like face painting along with free cotton candy and sno cones for kids while local black businesses and vendors will also be on hand, according to Gramling.

Social distancing practices will be in place along with hand washing stations provided. Attendees to the event are also required to wear masks.

She said the celebration will be an “educational, peaceful, positive learning experience.”