Saturday, the Lebanon County Branch 26AA NAACP hosted its third annual Juneteenth celebration in Lebanon’s Monument Park.
Juneteenth, or Juneteenth National Independence Day, is a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. It became a federally recognized holiday in 2021.
While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, Union troops only arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, to free Black people in the state on June 19, 1865.
This year’s celebration in Lebanon lasted from 1 to 5 p.m. and included an opening ceremony and several other activities, including Zumba, yoga, an African drumming workshop, and an African dance workshop.
During the opening ceremony, the NAACP presented local student Amaya Rodriguez with its annual 2023 Diversity Scholarship.
For the first year, the NAACP also set up posts circling the park, dating every 10 years from 1620 to the present.
Branch 26AA secretary and founding organizing committee member Michael Schroeder walked the length of the posts, describing the historical events concerning slavery and Black rights that occurred in each decade.
Schroeder described events from the first enslaved Africans arriving in North America to more recent occurrences like the murder of George Floyd.
Lebanon County NAACP Branch 26AA was formed in 2020 and became an official branch in February 2021. As of the start of the year, the organization had 96 members and four committees.
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