Arts

Atlanta History Center To Mark 150 Years Of ‘Juneteenth’

People pose during a ''Juneteenth'' celebration in Texas in 1900. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the day on which the end of slavery was declared.
Credit Wikimedia Commons / Austin History Center
Audio version of this story here.

 Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku talks with “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes about “Juneteenth” and Saturday's celebration at the Atlanta History Center.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas and brought with them the news that the Civil War was over.

Major General Gordon Granger also read a statement declaring that all slaves were to be free, in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.

Since then, June 19 has become a day of celebration of the end of slavery, which is widely known as “Juneteenth.”

“Juneteenth” also was the title of the second novel by the celebrated African-American writer Ralph Ellison and published posthumously in 1999.

Earlier this month, the official Atlanta Juneteenth festival took place, with a parade and other events.

On Saturday, the Atlanta History Center will mark the 150th anniversary of Maj. Granger’s declaration with an all-day celebration that is free and open to the public.

On “City Lights,” Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku explained how she keeps the story of “Juneteenth” alive, especially for younger people.

Koku’s storytelling performances will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.