Juneteenth Celebration set for TFAC on June 17

Published 11:32 am Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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TRYON–Thanks to a generous Free Community Event Grant from the Polk County Community Foundation, the Thermal Belt Friendship Council, in partnership with Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, invites the community to a Juneteenth Celebration taking place at the Tryon Fine Arts Center  Saturday, June 17 at 3 p.m. The program is a Musical Spiritual Journey consisting of presentations and two local gospel choirs. Following the program, all are invited to a free reception in the TFAC Pavilion featuring traditional Southern foods.  

President of Thermal Belt Friendship Council Donna Tatnall and Rev. Dr. Aloha L. Smith of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church welcome community members to join them at the Juneteenth Celebration.

A celebration that is old and almost forgotten has become new again. Under President Joe Biden’s signature, Juneteenth has become a Federal Holiday, now celebrated on June 19, the day General Gordon Granger gave General Order No. 3. 

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On this day, the announcement was first heard in Galveston, Texas, delivered by Federal troops to farms, ranches and plantations, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation, which was already more than 2 years old, and 2 months after the Civil War had ended. It informed slave owners in Texas, the last state to recognize the end of slavery, that their former property had now become their present-day employees and united the former slave states into a national order, in an effort to eliminate slavery throughout the United States. The last enslaved people were finally freed under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution on December 6, 1865. 

In 2021, Juneteenth became the first new Federal Holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983. 

Black communities and various states of the Union have traditionally celebrated this fact with an annual celebration of fellowship, gospel singing and a shared feast. All in the community are invited to be part of this celebration, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, and at the free reception following. We will gather both to celebrate our freedom and to remember the ancestors who did not live to see this day. Please join us! 

Other activities in celebration of Juneteenth will take place at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church over the holiday weekend. Further information can be found at http://goodshepherdtryon.org.


Submitted by Kathleen Hamilton