The 12th annual Juneteenth Celebration was held at Hubbard Park in Sedalia on Saturday, June 22. The event included barbecued chicken and ribs, three-on-three basketball, DJ Malcolm Briscoe, live music from The James Whitney Band and various contests, and was sponsored by The Pettis County branch of the NAACP and the Juneteenth Committee.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
This was two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order.
However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.