Juneteenth, the mash-up of the two words June and Nineteenth, is sometimes called the second independence day. June 19th marks the day in 1865 when African American slaves in Galveston, Texas finally received news that they were freed, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and two months after the ending of the Civil War. This holiday serves to recognize a significant moment in American history.
The holiday is recognized in cities all over the nation including Rock Hill, South Carolina. Juneteenth Rock Hill board members have worked hard to put together a community event that is fit for the entire family to recognize Juneteenth.
Current Juneteenth Rock Hill board member Dr. Nathaniel Frederick II shares, “There’s always some sort of festival in the downtown area and you really get a chance to see the diversity of the community. And it’s really a beautiful thing, and so I love to see that. And I’m glad to be a part of something that can facilitate that type of community and unity.”
Now that the planning and festivities are done for the year, the Juneteenth Rock Hill board continues to look forward to growing the Juneteenth Rock Hill Celebration. The 2018 board president Carlo L’Chelle Dawson loves interacting with children and families during the Juneteenth activities. She thinks that Juneteenth can include different programs next year. Dawson shares, “I would like to see, for example, Dr. Frederick will be speaking at a race and reconciliation panel. I would like to see more panel discussions about race and the role of race in the community as a part of Juneteenth.”
The Juneteenth Rock Hill celebration started 15 years ago at Mt. Prospect Baptist Church. Now it is an annual event in collaboration with the City of Rock Hill. With hundreds of participants each year, Juneteenth Rock Hill shows the value of diversity to the community.