Virginia declared Juneteenth a State holiday and the Northern Neck is celebrating! Interracial Conversations NNK, MACorps, Inc, and Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern have joined forces to sponsor the first annual Juneteenth Celebration Fair on the Pavilion grounds at Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern on June 19, 2021 between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Bennie Green’s trumpet will announce a reading of General Order Number 3 by Joe Thompson to begin the Fair. A History Corner, food vendors and crafters, music, dance performance and children’s activities will entertain. Free Covid Vaccinations and Voter Registration opportunities are available.

Juneteenth is an abbreviation of the date, June 19, 1865. The holiday recognizes the day that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to deliver the news that the Civil War had ended and all 250,000 enslaved people within Texas were free. Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Major General Granger Gordon read General Orders, Number 3 declaring that all slaves were free with “absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor”.

Juneteenth is an important day in African-American communities, yet, for over a hundred and fifty years, it has been difficult to celebrate because there are many ways in which Black people experience systemic racism. Many newly freed people lived without jobs, money or property, and their families had been torn apart by slavery. As Jim Crow laws spread, the celebrations were suppressed. Gradually, the celebrations spread throughout Texas and the other states where displaced African Americans had relocated.

Recognizing that freedom is everyone’s right and everyone’s responsibility, the theme of the Juneteenth Celebration Fair is “Celebrating Freedom and Community Unity”.

For information, updates or vendor space, please send inquires to NNKJuneteenth@gmail.com or find NNK Juneteenth Fair on Facebook.