Salisbury-Rowan NAACP remembers history, looks forward during Juneteenth celebration

Published 11:59 am Monday, June 20, 2022

SALISBURY — Community members across the county came out to Bell Tower Green this weekend for fellowship and celebration of Juneteenth.

On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, the last state in the Confederacy, and announced the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been made effective in 1863. The act liberated 250,000 slaves in the state. While slavery and bondage weren’t immediately eliminated, the holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Although Juneteenth is one of America’s oldest holidays, it wasn’t a federal holiday until last year.

“It’s great we now have a federal holiday,” said Jewel Ramsey, of Salisbury, who attended the Juneteenth celebration. “It’s about time. I love seeing everyone coming together to celebrate and just have a good time.”

The Salisbury-Rowan NAACP declared the theme of this year’s theme as “Celebrating our Legacy, Cultivating our Future.” The theme celebrated the end of slavery while recognizing that racism and discrimination are issues still faced by Black Americans today.

The Salisbury-Rowan NAACP hosted three different events for Juneteenth over the weekend starting with poetry and jazz at Vibez Lounge on South Main Street Friday night.

The celebration moved to Bell Tower Green Saturday afternoon where families could gather to cool off at the splash pad and enjoy musical performances by Kiing Le & Iconic Truth Band and Ace Party Band. Food vendors, Black-owned businesses and handmade art circled the park to refresh guests and inspire them with merchandise. The event wrapped up around 7 p.m., but the festivities didn’t end there. More than 3,000 individuals attended the weekend festivities.

Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black expressed his joy of the weekend turn out, saying “I couldn’t be happier to celebrate this weekend that is now a national holiday. I’m thankful to the community, the City of Salisbury and Parks and Recreation for making this even possible. It’s so amazing that we get to celebrate not only our freedom, but to remember our history and cultivate our future.”

Black also said that Juneteenth is for every one as it brings together all communities to celebrate the population’s freedom in this country.

The final day included a jubilee of gospel performances with Soulful Sunday by Salisbury-Rowan NAACP. Many community members attended both events at the park and a tribute to Father’s Day.

Sunday’s performances included emcee Roland Carter and his quartet the Original Sensational Aires and Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s the Supreme Angels. Pelican SnoBalls provided a cool treat as hundreds of people gathered the field to worship God and praise Him for keeping their strength.

“Let’s continue to pray for our country, our world and our president,” said Carter as he led the crowd in prayer and fellowship.

Community member Rena Morgan, who said she is a granddaughter of a slave, emphasized the importance of Juneteenth and said there’s still a lot of work to be done in this country.

For more information about the Salisbury-Rowan NAACP, go to naacp.org/join-naacp/become-member.

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