This Saturday, Historic Germantown and the Germantown Avenue Business Alliance will join forces to host the 147th Juneteenth Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Juneteenth refers to the date June 19, 1865, which is when the last slaves received word from Major General Gordon Granger that they were freed from slavery because of the Emancipation Proclamation that President Abraham Lincoln issued on September 22, 1862. The announcement took place in Galveston, Texas.
Deborah Gary, member of Germantown Avenue Business Alliance, said the family-friendly event is a way to unite as a community and recognize and celebrate freedom in all aspects of the word.
“The more you understand your history, the better you are able to move forward and see the challenges of ancestors and see how it relates to things you are trying to do today,” said Gary. “Freedom, of course, is not free.”
The festivities will begin at Germantown and Wister streets with a “Freedom Walk” led by the Resurrected Order 1997 Buffalo Soldiers 9th and 10th Calvary and the Youth Trinity Drum Line from the Enon Tabernacle Baptist church. The meeting place will be at the historic marker indicating the “1st Protest Against Freedom.”
There will also be reenactment performances of Harriet Tubman describing her work on the Underground Rail Road as she helped slaves seek freedom and President George Washington’s slave Hercules.
Attendees will also get the opportunity to visit the Historical and Cultural Marketplace, participate in a drumming circle and view different dance and spiritual choir performances. There will also be a viewing of the documentary film “My Slave Sister Myself” presented by the Lest We Forget Traveling Slavery Museum.
Cliveden of the National Trust, the Concord School House and Upper Burying Ground of Germantown and the Johnson house will all be open for tours.
On June 19, there will be a candlelight vigil at Germantown Avenue and Wister Street at 6:30 p.m.