Juneteenth is an African-American celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and is observed on June 19. It generally is linked to that month and day in 1865 and is associated with the enslaved in Galveston, Texas celebrating their freedom after learning that the Emancipation Proclamation had freed them two years earlier.
In observance of African American History Month, the New Juneteenth Committee hopes to separate fact from fiction as it commemorates the 20th Anniversary of Juneteenth in Memphis and the 150 Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on Friday, Feb. 22, at Impact Baptist Church, 3759 Watkins Ave. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.
"This is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Juneteenth here in Memphis," said Glynn Johns Reed, coordinator of the New Juneteenth Committee and founder and former executive director of Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival.
"Juneteenth is not just a festival, it's a historic holiday," said Glynn Johns Reed, coordinator of the New Juneteenth Committee and founder and former executive director of the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival. "Therefore, we need to clarify what Juneteenth stands for and set the record straight."
Karanja A, Ajanaku, executive editor of The New Tri-State Defender, will facilitate a panel discussion on the Juneteenth controversy. The panelists include Wiley Henry, senior account services specialist and senior writer for The Carter Malone Group; Telisa Franklin, executive director of the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival; Ekpe Abioto, a musician, recording artist, social entrepreneur, and artistic director of GENIUS UNLIMITED; and Elaine Turner, co-owner of Heritage Tours of Memphis.
The program will include remarks by Turner on the 150 Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a short presentation on the 20th Anniversary of Juneteenth, a short skit on the Emancipation Proclamation, a film on the New Juneteenth, and a Black History exhibit followed by the panel discussion.
The 20th annual Juneteenth celebration will also continue on Beale Street with a jazz concert on June 21.
"This is an opportunity to bring awareness to jazz in the Memphis community," said Reed. "The blues is a force here, but the rich, eclectic sound of jazz is just as significant in the African-American community."
The African-American history program is sponsored by Black Pages New Orleans, Impact Baptist Church, The New Tri-State Defender, Juneteenth Jazz, and Heritage Tours of Memphis.