Many Lubbock residents celebrated ‘Juneteenth,’ commemorating the day Texans learned slavery had been abolished.
Students of the Texas Tech Summer Discovery Arts Program met with a local community group, Roots Historical Arts Council, to learn about African American history. They asked questions like, “Why haven’t I heard about Juneteenth until now?”
June 19th marks the day Major Gen. Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas and announced that two years earlier, Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Linda Strong serves on the board of the council and says it is important for them to understand our nation’s past.
“It is basically a remembrance. A time to get together and enjoy friends and family,” Strong said. “If you don’t know where you have been, you don’t know where you are going. If you don’t know what your history is, you might repeat what happened.”
Across town, the Unified Juneteenth Commission was setting for an educational bowling tournament, called ‘In the Know, Knowledge Bowl,’ to get youth involved in the holiday. They also do a parade and other events the weekend of the 19th.
“If we can unify with one another, identify with one another, and empathize with one another, then we can come together and understand that freedom is for everyone,” Unified Juneteenth Commission spokesperson Darlene McCormick said.
She says the key to unification is young Texans knowing their history.
“If we can own the past, own it, then we can change things, but until you own it you can’t move forward with the future,” McCormick said.
Back at the Roots Historic Art Council Building, they hope that these kids will continue to learn about their history.
“They were amazed,” Shirley Green said. “‘I didn’t know this, I didn’t know that,’ That’s why field trips are important. you need to take kids out and explore their community. cause you aren’t going to find everything in a class- or textbook.”
The Council also runs the Caviel Museum of African American history. They hope to educate the community not just on holidays, but year round.
The Tech Summer Discovery Art students plan to help the council do just that, by creating a mural project celebrating the East Lubbock community.