What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. June 19, 1865, is significant because it was the date Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the U.S. Civil War had ended and the enslaved were free. This event occurred almost two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Since this was the first time many enslaved people knew they were free, Juneteenth is also sometimes referred to as “Freedom Day.”
Today the holiday celebrations take place in many ways, from picnics to backyard family gatherings to larger-scale parades. One unifying feature of Juneteenth celebrations is centered around eating together. Red foods are an important staple at Juneteenth gatherings, symbolizing the blood and resilience of enslaved people. Hibiscus tea, strawberry pop, red velvet cake, watermelon, and fruit cobblers are eaten along with plenty of barbecue.
This weekend at Seward Co-op, you can join Addie DeMery for a virtual class celebrating Juneteenth with BBQ dishes and sides that everyone can enjoy. We’ll be making burgers and kebobs, with both meat and vegetarian options. Addie will also give a brief history of what Juneteenth is, the importance of the date, and how she celebrates the holiday. Register here.