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Across Central Virginia, organizations prepare to celebrate Juneteenth

Across Central Virginia, organizations prepare to celebrate Juneteenth
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 18:42:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Juneteenth has seen a few transformations since its inception 156 years ago, with one historian saying that it's in a newfound resurgence. Meanwhile, organizers across Central Virginia are giving people many options to celebrate the holiday.

"In accordance with the proclamation from the executive of the United States, all slaves are free," Historian Nathan Richardson read.

Richardson was reciting a snippet of an order read 156 years ago on June 19 in Galveston, Texas. The order brought President Abraham Lincoln's two-year-old Emancipation Proclamation to the final holdouts in the post-Civil War United States, freeing the remaining slaves.

Richardson said the holiday was initially celebrated as Jubilee Day but that it morphed into Juneteenth and took on a more engaging role as time went on.

"Finding out what it meant to become active citizens, how they could participate in the social, economic, and political process," Richardson said.

Richardson said that celebrations went underground during the Jim Crow-era out of fear of backlash. However, it has seen a resurgence in recent years, as seen in comments coming from a Chesterfield County Public Library presentation.

Elsewhere, RISE for Youth is co-hosting a block party and youth talent showcase called "Keep Our Kids Free". Organizers of the event say that it's synonymous with the idea of Juneteenth.

"It was the freeing of people and they are working to ensure that children indeed begin to understand that they have a freedom beyond what they have even dared to dream," Valerie Slater, RISE for Youth's Executive Director, said.

Charlotte's Southern Deli and Tapas will raise money for non-profits with a cocktail party featuring Black chefs.

Juneteenth to me has always felt like an opportunity to teach people. And so we're using our platform to teach people about other black chefs and that we're out here and that we're able to create beautiful things," Nikki Gregory, Charlotte's Southern Deli and Tapas owner said.