History of Juneteenth

Known as "Emancipation Day," it is an annual celebration commemorating June 19, 1865. This was the day the last slaves in America learned slavery had been abolished. Shortly after defeating the Confederates and ending the War, 2,000 Union Soldiers accompanied Major General Gordon Granger to Galveston Island, Texas, to announce that slavery had ended.

According to legend, Granger read General Order #3 on the balcony of Ashton Villa (Broadway Ave. and 24th St.) He declared slavery was abolished under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln. Slaves built Ashton Villa, one of the first brick homes in Galveston. Banker and merchant Colonel James Moreau Brown initially owned the home. It would later be converted to a headquarters for the Confederates before falling to Union Soldiers.

On the first anniversary of June 19, 1866, the Juneteenth celebration of freedom began. Houston Democratic State Representative Al Edwards initiated legislation that would later be signed into law recognizing Juneteenth Day as a holiday. Edwards started reading "General Order No. 3" in 1979 to mark the occasion, which included a prayer breakfast followed by a yearly celebration until his death. His statue stands in the front yard of Ashton Villa today.

It's time to celebrate! The SWLA Center For Health Services, in conjunction with John G. Lewis Sr. #165/Prince Hall Affiliated, present Lake Charles's '2023 Juneteenth Festival' June 16-19, 2023. This will be a 4-day event of family-friendly activities everyone can enjoy.

~ Friday, June 16 - Movie Under the Stars ~
Lake Charles Civic Center Amphitheatre (900 Lakeshore Drive) ~ 6 pm
'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' - Starring The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillian

~ Saturday, June 17 ~ FREE DENTAL DAY ~

SWLA Center for Health Services (2000 Opelousas St.) ~ 8:00 am-noon
First come, first serve, free screenings, and cleanings will be done as needed.  Also available, Blood pressure checks, glucose testing, and COVID vaccinations.

Scholarship Award Presentation ~ TBA

~ Sunday, June 18 ~ Juneteenth Worship Service ~ Theme: “Music, Men, Matters“
Mount Olive Baptist Church (3007 Enterprise Boulevard) ~ 10 am

Join us for a morning of worship and fellowship under the direction of Pastor Braylon Harris. Gospel choir performance and a panel of men discussing essential matters in our African American communities.

~ Monday, June 19 - Juneteenth Freedom Festival, Juneteenth Parade, and Fireworks 
Lake Charles Civic Center Exhibition Hall (900 Lakeshore Drive)~
8 am - 1st Annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival BBQ Cook-Off
10:00 am - Juneteenth Parade - (ROUTE- Lake Charles Civic Center to Lakeshore Dr., heading down Broad St., then down Enterprise Blvd., to Mill St.)
11:00 am - Juneteenth Pop-Up Shops and Vendors - food trucks, art, music, clothing, and jewelry!
Noon - till Presentation of the Juneteenth Queens and Freedom Festival Concert
7:00 pm - Freedom Festival Concert featuring RUSTY METOYER AND THE ZYDECO KRUSH

Following the live performance - Fireworks Over the Lakefront

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