Yesterday night, the group gathered at Eastwoods Park close to UT to have fun Juneteenth with speeches, barbecues and academic shows organized by the College’s Institute for City Coverage Analysis & Evaluation.
In line with the Smithsonian, roughly 2,000 Union troops marched into Galveston on June 19, 1865, to announce the enslaved individuals of Texas have been freed. The Civil Battle had ended two months earlier, and the Emancipation Proclamation took impact a yr and a half earlier than. Juneteenth has been celebrated yearly since, changing into a Texas state vacation in 1980 and a federal vacation in 2021.
Dina Inman Ramgolam, the institute’s affiliate director of operations, stated one in every of Austin’s earliest documented Juneteenth celebrations occurred at modern-day Eastwoods Park. She stated the Eastwoods Neighborhood Affiliation approached the institute to co-host the celebration.
Inman Ramgolam stated most Juneteenth celebrations embody an academic facet.
“I bear in mind going to Juneteenth celebrations however not likely realizing what I used to be doing there,” Inman Ramgolam stated. “It was as a result of loads of the historical past was not taught to me as a younger Texan once I was at school. That’s why we insisted on having the historical past tables as a result of we would like all Texans to return and provides them the chance to be taught extra in regards to the day itself.”
Inman Ramgolam stated the institute hopes future Juneteenth celebrations at Eastwoods Park develop in scale.
Kevin Foster, a professor of African & African Diaspora research who spoke on the celebration, stated although the primary Juneteenth freed all enslaved individuals, Black individuals dwelling within the South have been informed to stay the place they have been housed and to not journey.
“Juneteenth was this present day of freedom, but it surely additionally had baked into it the beginnings of Jim Crow,” Foster stated in his speech. “Black people took the a part of Juneteenth that stated, ‘You might be free.’ And that piece of Juneteenth that stated, ‘Keep in your house,’ we didn’t hear (to).”
Texas NAACP president Gary Bledsoe stated Juneteenth isn’t a vacation solely for the Black group. As an alternative, Bledsoe stated it must be a time when all Individuals unite “to verify our society turns into one thing that we mirror.”
Native, state and federal elected officers additionally attended the Eastwoods Park occasion. Even after the speeches concluded, celebrations continued as group members realized extra and talked in regards to the vacation.
“We want occasions like Juneteenth and Dr. King’s birthday … not solely to have fun however to inform the true story of what has slowly advanced and the challenges that we proceed to face,” Congressman Lloyd Doggett stated in a speech.
Attendee LaSonda Cobb stated the very best factor in regards to the vacation was getting extra individuals concerned and inspiring people to have fun.
“It was an amazing turnout,” Cobb stated. “My ancestors went by lots to get me right here at this time. Who would I be to not have fun?”
One other attendee, Alvan Andelle, stated the Black group nonetheless offers with racism every day. Nonetheless, Andelle stated occasions like these at Eastwoods Park current a possibility for individuals of all races to learn to have fun Juneteenth with the Black group.
“It’s a melancholy vacation, a day of reflection,” Andelle stated. “And a reminder of the progress we’ve made as a nation, however (additionally) how a lot enchancment there’s nonetheless (to be made).”