Juneteenth Celebration To Recall Emancipation Proclamation Impact
The Champaign Park District is holding a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday June 16 at Douglass Park in Champaign commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation when it was recognized in Texas 153 years ago.
The proclamation was an executive order issued in 1862 by then President Abraham Lincoln abolishing slavery. While it took effect in 1863, Texas didn’t enforce it until after the Civil War ended in 1865.
Darius White is a program coordinator with the Champaign Park District. He says as a black man, if not for Juneteenth and the emancipation proclamation, he may have been a slave in another life.
“Rather than being in an office and working a great job, I could easily be on someone's field doing manual labor you know and not making the proper amount of money for my work," said White.
White says tomorrow’s Juneteenth Celebration is not just a day of festivities. He says it’s an opportunity to educate the public.
“If we don’t take time to recognize our history, and learn it, then we are doomed to repeat it," said White.
He says Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration of black freedom, but is truly a celebration of America’s unification.
The free event will feature a variety of activities and performances. While the holiday takes place on Tuesday, June 19th, the Champaign Public Library sponsored event will take place tomorrow; Saturday June 16 from noon to 3 p.m.