The Union Recorder

June 25, 2013

Professor to discuss Juneteenth significance at Thursday program

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Dr. Mark Huddle, Georgia College U.S. and African-American history professor, will lecture about Juneteenth — known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day — this week at the Sallie Ellis Davis Cultural Arts Center.

The lecture begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Center, located at 301 S. Clarke St.

Concluding the center’s month-long film series, “A Credit to the Race: The Presence, Problems and Portrayal of African-Americans at Work,” the lecture is free and open to the public.

“Juneteenth is traditionally a holiday isolated to places like Texas, Central Oklahoma and California,” said Huddle. “However, it’s important for all of us to remember this day because it tells us something about freedom in America. What drew me to the topic is that in our history people are always left out of narratives of democracy. Juneteenth is another way for people to insert themselves into American freedom.”

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, news traveled to Galveston, Texas, that the war had ended and the enslaved were free, which actually occurred two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated through community events, including festivals, rodeos and prayer services.

It is an opportunity to educate and encourage self-development and respect for all cultures.

“These sorts of events connect all of us,” Huddle said. “Anybody who resides in our community has a chance to talk about the nature of our country and democracy through this lecture. We don’t engage in these conversations often enough, which allow us to take time out to remember those who sacrificed for this day in American history.”