The Martin Luther King Jr. Center in South Bend hosted its first Juneteenth celebration. Junteenth is a holiday focusing on the Emancipation Proclamation, and the freeing of African American slaves during the Civil War.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19th, 1865, when word of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas. The Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln in 1863, though slaves in Texas didn’t learn of the president’s action until two years later.
South Bend’s Martin Luther King Center, in coordination with the Center for Hospice Care, hosted lunch and activities, including guest speakers to celebrate the holiday.
Barb King with the Center for Hospice Care, says Juneteenth celebrations are a way to build community, and connect generations, teaching kids about their heritage. King says Juneteenth also celebrates family, as families were often torn apart during slavery.
“Your history is always important because if you have a lack of history, you don’t know who you are,” King said, “That’s why it’s important that we continue the celebration and remind people why it’s important.”
The South Bend Chapter of Indiana Black Expo will be hosting a Juneteenth Celebration this Saturday afternoon at LaSalle Park from 12-6.