Tri-Cities honoring end of slavery with Juneteenth events this week

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJune 15, 2014 

Tri-City organizers are paying homage to the end of slavery with a week of Juneteenth festivities.

Juneteenth -- June 19 -- celebrates the day in 1865 when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with a regiment of soldiers to free local slaves.

President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but the edict couldn't be enforced in Southern states until the defeat of the Confederacy two years later.

It's a day of reflection, renewal and appreciation for the African American experience, said Charvella McGary, with the Juneteenth Community Council.

"Juneteenth is a day we commit to each other. It's a day we come together young and old to listen, to learn and to refresh the drive to achieve," McGary said. "It is a day where we all take one step closer to better use the energy wasted on racism. It's a day we pray for peace and liberty for all."

Juneteenth festivities this week include a family skate, basketball tournament, fashion show and parade.

The skate night starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Richland Rollerarena. Cost is $7. The fashion show is 6 p.m. Friday at the Martin Luther King Center, 205 S. Wehe Ave., Pasco. Admission is free.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. June Saturday at Whittier Elementary School, 616 N. Wehe Ave., Pasco, and ends at Kurtzman Park next to the Martin Luther King Jr. center. Kids activities, softball games and food booths will take place in the park following the parade.

Juneteenth has been commemorated in the Tri-Cities since 1978, when Edmon Daniels, a native of Texas who now lives in Pasco, organized a local celebration.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;; Twitter: @dorioneal

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