African American Contributions - Preserving Black History One Story at a Time
African American Contributions - Preserving Black History One Story at a Time

14th Annual
African American Heritage Celebration
St. Mary's County, Maryland

Save the Date!
6th Annual Juneteenth
5K Run/Walk
to support the Juneteenth Festival
& Three Oaks Homeless Shelter
Saturday, June 17, 2017
8:00 am start

Registration Info
Available Spring 2017


Photos from 2016 Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Start Times:

5K Run/Walk: 8 am
Juneteenth Festival: noon - 8 pm


John G Lancaster Park
21550 Willows Road
Lexington Park, MD 20653

"Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day.  It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience.  It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities as nothing is more comforting than the hand of a friend."

Juneteenth originated as a celebration of the ending of slavery in Texas.  On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and 1,800 troops of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free.  Even though President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect on January 1, 1863, freeing all slaves in those states in rebellion against the United States, for various reasons the decree had not yet taken effect in Texas.

The proclamation issued by General Granger - General Orders, Number3 - announced:

The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.  This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer ...

That evening, thousands of people in Galveston celebrated their freedom with dancing, singing, and feasting.  In the years that followed, other southern cities also began to organized Juneteenth festivities.  It was not until January 1, 1980, however, that Juneteenth was designated an official state holiday in Texas. Through the efforts of African American state legislator Al Edwards, Juneteenth became the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition.

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated not only in Texas, but in cities throughout the United States.  Typical Juneteenth activities include picnics, parades, barbecues, ball games, and family reunions.  It is also a time for people to recount the events of the past.  Today Juneteenth has taken on a more national perspective, celebrating African American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures. 

"Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man, this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in an inferior position.  Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal."
- Abraham Lincoln, (July 10, 1858)

Juneteenth 2016 has received pledges from the groups and corporations listed below:

Platinum Sponsors

St Mary's County Government St. Mary's County Arts Council Frederick and Jordan Families Fund

Gold Sponsors

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative - SMECO Cherry Cove - Gold Sponsors of the 2013 Juneteenth Celebration Minority Outreach Coalition
Lott Enterprises of Maryland, Inc - 301-866-0868 MedStar St. Mary's Hospital

Silver Sponsors

College of Southern Maryland Toyota of Southern Maryland Banneker High School Class of 1958
St Mary's College of Maryland

Bronze Sponsors

Aspire Wellness Center, Inc. Community Bank of the Chesapeake La Quinta Inns and Suites
Leonardtown Rotary Club Deb Ray - Maryland State Delegate Thompson Family Corporation

Special Sponsorships

Wyle Cares  |  JF Taylor  |  Dyson Lumber Company

Mary Somerville - Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions  

Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions PO Box 1457 Lexington Park, MD 20653

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