Slavery did not end in the US on January 1, 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order issued by president Abraham Lincoln. In many parts of the country, the news of the abolition of slavery was slow-arriving or ignored. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, when major general Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with a document called General Order Number 3 that the slaves in Texas were freed. June 19, 1865, known as Juneteenth, is the day that African Americans remember and celebrate as the official end of slavery.
Conceived in 1968 by the reverend Ralph Abernathy and others, Juneteenth has been growing rapidly in national recognition in recent years. It became a state holiday in Texas 1980, and in 2004 a state holiday in New York. It will be recognized in Kingston on Saturday, June 13 at the New Progressive Baptist Church at 5 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark (pictured above), a civil rights leader, founder of the North Jackson, Mississippi NAACP Youth Council, special assistant to Medgar Wylie Evers, co-founder of the Alabama Black Belt Voter Education Project and an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Music will be provided by the New Pro Choir and Josh Otero. The Juneteenth celebration in Kingston will also include tributes to Robin Dassie, recreation leader of the City of Kingston, and Ben Wigfall, former SUNY-New Paltz professor and artist. Admission is free and includes a Southern-style dinner.
The New Progressive Baptist Church is located at 8 Hone Street in Kingston. For more information, call Odell Winfield at (914) 388-3092.