Juneteenth to be celebrated Sunday

A Juneteenth celebration will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Second Baptist Church, 1827 Fourth Ave. S. Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery.

A community choir from various churches, of “all races and backgrounds” will sing, said Sherry Washington. There will be classical piano selections from Ebony Caston, a short talk by Gwenda Naylor encouraging education and how the workforce ties in, and a Juneteenth overview reading by freshman Christopher Nichols. The featured speaker will be Regan Banks, former mayor of Manly and the third black mayor in Iowa.

Juneteenth celebrates the day Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The day is a big celebration in larger cities, and deserves wider recognition here, Washington said.

“It’s important to me as it’s our country’s history and not well-known or even talked about,” she said. “President Lincoln, General Gordon Granger, as well as other white officials played a huge part in Juneteenth – along with African Americans such as Rev. Jack Yates. However, it’s rarely discussed in history classes.”

“We would like to welcome everyone all of races and denominations to please come join in the service in Christian love without judgment or prejudice,” Washington added. “As we are all God’s children, and should love each other unconditionally.”