Cities uniting for Juneteenth

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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With June 19 fast approaching, the LaFayette city council and Mayor Kenneth Vines approved the Juneteenth proclamation at the city council meeting on Monday night. 

A delegation from the Greater Valley Area Juneteenth Committee was present to support the proclamation and request that a representative from the city attend the event. The Juneteenth celebration, like every year, will be held in downtown Lanett near the water fountain. 

Juneteenth became a national holiday in 2021; however, it has been a widely celebrated holiday for the African American community for over 150 years. The holiday marks the day in 1865 when the last slaves were freed from Confederate control in Galveston Bay, Texas by the Union army on June 1865. 

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“When the news arrived, in Galveston Bay, Texas that the Civil War had ended, and that the slaves were free, former slaves celebrated with praise music, dance and prayer, establishing the first Juneteenth freedom celebration in history,” the proclamation, ready by Vines, says. 

Thus, Juneteenth is often called the country’s second independence day.

Community members from across the Greater Valley Area are encouraged to come as a show of support. 

“… And whereas for more than 159 years, Juneteenth national freedom continues to be the most recognized African American observance celebrated,” he added. “And in the fall of 2010, the Greater Valley Area committee was convened by Dr. Randy Kelly to sponsor a series of inaugural events to commemorate the Juneteenth.”

This year’s group of honorary lamp bearers, individuals from the community over the age of 95, were announced at a recent Lanett city council meeting. 

The proclamation said, “On the 159th anniversary of Juneteenth, the 2024 Juneteenth educational project honors the lamp bearers (ages 95 and over) who have witnessed a century of immense transformation, wars, civil rights changes, a man landing on the moon, medical advances and technological change.”

The individuals being honored are as follows:

Lula Mae Roberts

Mary Sledge

Dorothy “Dot” Allen

Clemmie Jones

Minnie Murphy

Mattie Davis

Elsie Johnson

Jo Frances Jackson

Rose DeVance

Maudie Taylor

Nancy Huguley, recently deceased