BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
The local Juneteenth Festival Committee Inc. is gearing up for its 16th celebration.
It took two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, that the word that slaves had been freed was issued through Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas.
Folklore reports that the messenger was killed or that plantation owners withheld the news in order to retail slave labor and reap a final cotton harvest.
Slaves in America’s Midwest learned on June 19 that the war was over, the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed, and they were free. A celebration took place and since, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.
Plans for a Juneteenth banquet, scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, in Daytona Beach, are in the works.
The Juneteenth Family Festival will take place on Saturday, June 18. The outdoor festival will be held at Cypress Park, 925 George Engram Blvd., Daytona Beach.
The festival will include a day of music, educational displays, recreational activities, fashion shows, and activities for children.
About 6,000 people are expected to participate in the festival.
For more information about the Juneteenth committee’s plans, call 386-569-3347.