Tracy Singleton, executive director of TMBC at the Lincoln Resource Center in Davenport stopped by Local 4 this morning to discuss Juneteenth, a day that is now federally recognized as a celebration for freedom from slavery.
It has grown from being celebrated in Texas to being recognized in almost all 50 states as a state holiday and Juneteenth events everywhere.
It began in 1865, almost two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln essentially freeing the slaves. Once the General told them the news it was a day of freedom for those last enslaved. They transformed a day that started with military orders into their own annual tradition.
Singleton says it reminds us of what we came through and what we can achieve. It is the true definition of possibility. It’s important to take time to recognize its place in American history and reflect on the long struggle for equal rights – and how far we have to go.
Juneteenth has always been a reminder of justice delayed for the African-American community, she says. George Floyd was a shift in perception. With what happened to him, people were actually able to see that injustice. It was no longer something that was whispered about, talked about…we were actually able to see what we only heard about before. Although we have much work to do, we should and do recognize and celebrate how far we have come, Singleton says.
You can honor Juneteenth by shopping with Black-owned businesses, which in turn is an investment in the community. You can educate yourself on the history of Juneteenth and you can publicly commit to observing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
And you can do all this at the community Juneteenth festival. There are two this year. The Friends of MLK Festival on Saturday at The Lincoln Resource Center, 318 E. 7th St., Davenport. There will be entertainment, vendors, music and history. On Sunday, TMBC is hosting a faith-based event, “Faith, Freedom and Fatherhood” for Father’s Day. There will also be food, inspirational messages, gospel music and fellowship!