It’s possible you’ve never heard of Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day. Or if you have, you might know very little about the significance of this important day. If that happens to be the case, please don’t be embarrassed! I myself didn’t know about this holiday until my college roommate in Louisiana informed me, and I’m Black! I’ve encountered many other people, black and non-black alike, who only found out about it well into adulthood, if at all.
The traditional origin story of American freedom goes something like this: America began when freedom was won on July 4, 1776. However a deeper look reveals that American history goes back long before then, and that all Americans were not actually free until June 19, 1865. That was the day that the news of emancipation reached the last of the enslaved Blacks in Galveston, Texas – almost two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was decreed by President Lincoln.
Spreading awareness of this important day is one of the primary reasons why the Mercer Museum has partnered with the PairUP Society, Bucks County Anti-Racism Coalition, NAACP Bucks, and the African American History Museum to bring the first annual Juneteenth celebration to Upper Bucks. The other reason can be summed up in two words: celebration and joy.
Far too often, when we continue to advocate for equality, equity, and true freedom, we neglect to acknowledge just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished as a people, and in the face of literal centuries of oppression. Juneteenth is a chance to do exactly that. To recognize that our history is one of struggle, but there are times to leave the struggle aside and celebrate the victories. To me, that is the true spirit of Freedom Day. And in that spirit, all are welcome to celebrate with us at the Mercer Museum Green in Doylestown on June 19.
The celebration kicks off at 11 AM. We hope to see you there!
11:00-4:00 (all day) Vendors, Childrens’ Activities, Food, and Music courtesy of DJ Tone Arm
11:30-11:45 Program Opening – Mercer Museum and the Juneteenth Planning Committee
11:45-12:15 What is Juneteenth? (w/ Reenactment of Proclamation Reading)
12:15-12:45 Choir and Praise Dancers – Second Baptist Church of Doylestown
12:45-1:00 History of Mt. Gilead Church – Pastor David Jackson, Mt. Gilead Church
1:00-1:30 Live Music Performance – Shalom Mukamuri
1:30 -2:00 What is Juneteenth? (w/ Reenactment of Proclamation Reading) – Linda Salley, African American Museum of BC
2:00-2:15 Black Health – Dr. Monique Gary, Medical Director of Oncology at Grand View Health
2:15-2:30 Historically Black Fraternities & Sororities – Allyson Felder & Donte King
2:30-2:45 A Call to Action from the NAACP Bucks County – John Jordan, NAACP of BC