The Emancipation Proclamation declared that all enslaved people residing in Confederate controlled states were free on January 1, 1863. However, many enslaved people in Confederate controlled states were not free until June 19, 1865. This day, which is known as Juneteenth, marks the day that Union troops reached Galveston Bay, Texas and announced that the last of the enslaved people under Confederate control were declared free by executive decree. Also in 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified and abolished slavery for the entire United States. Source: The National Museum of African American History & Culture - The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration remembering the end of slavery in the United States and has been an African American tradition since the late 19th century. Many organizations have helped keep the tradition alive including Ben Haith who founded the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation and created the National Juneteenth Flag that you will see flying on the Plaza and at the Police Station over the Juneteenth weekend. On June 18, 2021, Juneteenth was declared a national holiday by the Federal Government. Source: The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation - The History of the Modern Juneteenth Movement
This year, Ashland is joining in the celebration and helping spread awareness of Juneteenth. You will see Juneteenth flags on the Plaza and near the Police Station along with a banner along over downtown encouraging everyone to celebrate Juneteenth. The Ashland City Council will also be holding a listening booth at the Juneteenth Celebration in Pear Blossom Park in Medford on Saturday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the celebration, go to Southern Oregon BASE’s website
. In addition to joining the Juneteenth Celebration this year, the Ashland City Council has passed a Resolution declaring the City of Ashland’s Commitment to Social Equity and Racial Justice and created a Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission. The Commission will provide recommendations and support to the Council, educate the community on policy measures, and practice to foster racial and social equity and respectful intergroup relations.
We hope everyone in Ashland will help celebrate and learn about Juneteenth!