Voting Rights Museum host Juneteenth celebration

Published 8:30 pm Saturday, June 19, 2010

In the shadow of the Edmund Pettus Bridge at the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, television stars, artists, friends and family gathered to celebrate Juneteenth 2010.

Juneteenth originated in Texas after the liberation of African-American slaves in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, almost two and one-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation became official.

“When the slaves heard that they were free they immediately stopped what they were doing and began dancing,” said Sam Walker, former director of the National Voting Rights Museum. “Form that point on people in Galveston have recognized Juneteenth.”

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Walker said 36 states now formally recognize the date, and Selma has recognized the day since 2003.

Olimatta Taal, the interim executive director of the Voting Rights Museum said she wanted see this years Juneteenth bring together the people of Selma during the celebration.

“I want it to be a time that people can have fun,” said Taal. “But I want it to be a time that the community and people of Selma can come out and become one.”

Vendors from across the Southeast came set up different booths, which offered food, clothing, and children’s activities.

Angela Wallace was the coordinator for the Juneteenth children’s village said she would teach the children about the history of Juneteenth.

“Before they begin with the arts and crafts we will inform them of the history of the day,” said Wallace. “The arts and crafts activities that they do are intended to inspire them as well.”

Wallace said the children made dream pillows, a book of their life and their own Juneteenth proclamations.

The older attendees enjoyed the music church choirs and blues artists early in the day and rap stars GS Boys, Young Thuggin and James “Nikko” Jackson.