African-American Sorority Celebrates Juneteenth - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

African-American Sorority Celebrates Juneteenth

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MILTON, Del. - "Juneteenth" celebrations were held in Milton Saturday to remember the day slaves were officially free in the United States.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebrations commemorating June 19th, or the day the last slaves were finally free in 1865. When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, it actually took a few years for slaves in other states to know about it. Texas was the last state to receive the information.

The Sussex County Chapter Alumnae of the African-American sorority Sigma Delta Theta held a Juneteenth Arts Festival at the Milton Memorial Park Saturday. Chapter President Geraldine Jones said she aims to teach more people about the special day.

"It is important for us as a part of our education goal is for us to help folk understand from whence we've come and to help people grow," she explained.

This is only the second year the sorority has hosted the festival, the members hope to make it a tradition in Sussex County. Co-Chair Waynne Perkins thinks making it an annual event is very important.

"For several years i felt that nothing was being done to commemorate the Juneteenth holiday or festival," she said. "So it's important to me that we get out there and spread the news and let people know what its all about."

The event featured art, food, music, dancing, a spelling bee, a raffle and even local vendors.

Chapter members hope the festival passed along the message of why Juneteenth is so important to future generations, like 13-year-old Juamere Bradigan, who said he has learned a lot.

"If the next generation doesn't know anything about it I think people can abuse it a little bit," Bradigan said. "Kinda make it disappear and it can happen again."

"If you don't remember where you've been, you cannot appreciate where you're going," Jones said.

In Texas, Juneteenth is a recognized holiday, and even larger celebrations are held there. The ladies of Delta Sigma Theta said they want to bring that exact spirit to Delmarva.

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