Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.
On June 19th, 1865, all enslaved people in the United States were officially freed. 152 years later, Northwest Arkansas is celebrating Juneteenth for the 19th year. A Juneteenth regular, Nate Walls says this day is for everyone.
Nate Walls, Juneteenth Celebration Participant, “I think everyone should know about it. It’s not just a black history it’s also an American history.”
In addition to a history lesson about this important day over 150 years ago, food, live music and activities for the kids were provided. Co-Chair of Juneteenth, Danielle Williams, says the celebration has moved all around Northwest Arkansas, from a U of A building, to Springdale and back to The Gardens on the U of A campus.
Danielle Williams, Co-Chair of Juneteenth, “What we are doing is celebrating the African American community and we also want to embrace other communities so they can learn more about the heritage of African Americans.”
Walls says one of the more important things about this event is to communicate and remember where we came from, so that we do not repeat our past.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. It comes and puts it in your face about where we have been and the history of everything but it makes me feel good that we have made such great strides. If we talk we will work through things. I think the problem is people stop talking and just remain angry,” said Walls.
Williams wants people to walk away from this event with a new spirit of understanding and tolerance.
“After this event i want people to have more understanding and more tolerance not just of the African American community but of each other and they come together and know each other as persons and look past race, look past gender,” said Williams.
Williams also says the event continues to grow every year and they hope Juneteenth will move to an even bigger venue in the coming years.