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Second annual Juneteenth celebration to be held Saturday in Durango

Event commemorates end of slavery in the United States
Almost 200 people gathered in June 2020 in Buckley Park for a Juneteenth celebration. Durango groups plan to hold the second annual Juneteenth celebration Saturday at Rotary Park. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Durango groups are gearing up to celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.

The Southwest Movement for Black Lives and Durango Peace & Justice are hosting the second annual Juneteenth celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Rotary Park. The event will include educational speakers, local food vendors, crafts and other free, family-friendly activities, said Lainey Severson in an email to The Durango Herald.

“This event is Black-led to help grow and connect the Black community, but all are welcome,” Severson said.

The Juneteenth celebration dates back to June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over and slaves were free, according to Juneteenth.com.

The announcement came 2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The proclamation freed enslaved people, but had little impact in Texas because of the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the executive order, the website said.

African American Emancipation Day in Galveston spread across the United States and over time, transformed into modern Juneteenth celebrations.

The event, sometimes celebrated over a week or month, commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement.

Durangoans held the first Juneteenth celebration in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic and less than a month after the death of George Floyd ignited police reform protests around the world. About 200 people attended the event.

More information about the event is available at Durango Juneteenth on Facebook.

smullane@durangoherald.com

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