On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger of the U.S. Union Army came to the Aston Villa in Galveston, Texas. He came to announce the Emancipation Proclamation which signified the start of freedom in America for African Americans. On that day, slaves were freed and America took a step closer to aligning with the true definition of what the Constitution stands for: liberty for all.
Despite Juneteenth recently becoming recognized as a federal holiday, the San Marcos community has celebrated the holiday for almost 30 years. The Juneteenth Foundation Inc., Dunbar Heritage Association and the Calaboose Museum are filling June with events to commemorate that special day.
On June 2nd, the third annual Fish Fry event took place from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Dunbar Recreation Center. David Peterson, chairman of the board at the Juneteenth Foundation Inc., spoke in depth about the event’s details. The Fish Fry scholarships are raised for the youth’s education in Hays County. In addition, delicious fried food is served for everyone to enjoy. “This is one of the greatest things to ever happen. We started 29 years ago, back in 1994 with just five cooks and it has grown to where we can be giving out scholarship money throughout all of Hays County,” Peterson said.
On Tuesday, June 6, at 8:30 a.m. the Hays County Commissioner Court proclaimed the month of June as Juneteenth month. The Juneteenth Foundation Committee and sponsors came together to be a part of the ceremony. Peterson described the overall energy with these celebrations as “ very grateful, all the public people are warming and welcoming,” Peterson said.
Rose Brooks will be hosting a cake auction on Thursday, June 15 at 6:00 p.m. at San Marcos City Park. Everyone is welcome to attend to get the chance to bid on cakes that are made from scratch. People demonstrate the love they have for the community and the Juneteenth holiday with homemade desserts.
Registration for the 29th annual Juneteenth BBQ cook-off will start at noon on Friday, June 16 at William Mae Mitchell Center. The judges will start off judging the margaritas at 6:00 p.m. and youth pork chops at 7:00 p.m. “We include the youth pork chops for the kids because we want something in there where everyone can feel, even the kids, like they are part of the cookoff too,” Peterson said. The judging for beef and chicken fajitas at 8:00 p.m. and beans will end the festive at 9:00 p.m.
Reverend Derek Benn will lead a Unity Walk on Saturday, June 17 with an expectation of 200-300 people. The lineup for the walk will start at 8:30 a.m. and will begin at 9:00 a.m. from the corner of LBJ and MLK Dr. The route takes the community through the historic African American neighborhoods ending back at the William Mae Mitchell Community Center.
After the walk, the cook-off will continue and serve chicken at noon, baby back or spare ribs at 1:30 p.m., cobbler and brisket. After that, some other activities will go on from the Dunbar Heritage Association. “There will be some of the churches even having some activities going on including The Great of Bethel and First Baptist,” said Peterson. It will be festive all around with different organizations coming together to celebrate the freedom that comes from the Juneteenth day.
The Dunbar Heritage Association will host events in San Marcos for honoring Juneteenth including a community celebration and a Freedom Run. Jonafa Banbury, a representative at the DHA, shared the events will begin on Saturday, June 17, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The community celebration will start with a reenactment of General Gordon Granger announcing that the Union Army had arrived in the state to depose the Confederate Army. There will then be a ringing of the bell and raising of the Juneteenth flag to embody the freedom established on that day. After, food and shopping vendors will be set up with adult games and line dancing. From 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., kid activities are available.
The Freedom Run will take place on June 19 from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. While the general registration period has passed, if you are a Texas State student or faculty member looking to run the possibility is still available. Contact TXST Division of Inclusive Excellence at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 245- 4939 to see if a sponsored spot is available. The focus of the run is to represent the Dunbar neighborhood, including the first churches and black shops. The run route will take everyone through Center Street and displays the history that was made after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Diana Garcia, a volunteer and board member of the Calaboose Museum, spoke on the events the museum is having to get young children involved in the celebration. On Saturday, June 17 the Calaboose will be displaying children’s artwork illustrating what Juneteenth looks like to them from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event takes place in the Cephas House across the street from the Calaboose. As the artwork is displayed, the Bahá’í Faith Group will be doing a peace pie exchange. “Food is a great way of bringing everyone together from various backgrounds,” Garcia said.
These events are an awesome opportunity for San Marcos to attend for two reasons. The Juneteenth acknowledgments can educate those who might not know much about African American history within the city, and also bring the community together. In America, there is a lot of diversity in our nation which should be celebrated, so come out and celebrate Juneteenth, come on!
Written by: kadencemakenna