In Appomattox, Juneteenth carries its own historical significance

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

APPOMATTOX, Va. (WFXR) — Shronda Moseley says her town plays a special role in Juneteenth’s history, and she’s determined to put on a commemoration fit for everybody.

“I’m so excited. It’s going to be a family-friendly event,” said Moseley, President of Appomattox for Equality. “Music, some pretty awesome speakers are going to be here tomorrow. The Kuumba dancers and drummers are going to be here. It’s just going to be an amazing event.”

Saturday, June 19 is Juneteenth, a holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation that word finally reached Galveston, Texas.

Saturday’s celebration in Appomattox is especially significant. It’s the place where the confederacy surrendered in April 1865.

“Even though Juneteenth isn’t celebrated until June,” said Moseley, “that’s how long it took to get the information to Galveston, Texas, but we were freed first!”

This is the second Juneteenth her group organized and the first with Juneteenth as a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed that into law on Thursday, June 17.

“That is so exciting. I’m so excited,” said Moseley. “It should have been recognized federally, just like we recognize Independence Day. We as a Black people were not free then.”

However, she does have mixed feelings about its passage as a federal holiday. Despite passing Juneteenth as a holiday into law — Congress has not passed major bills like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — laws that Moseley says would help combat inequality.

“I’m happy, but at the same time, it’s just kind of like, oh okay, is this what you think we wanted? Because it’s not, ” said Moseley.

She hopes to bring people together with the theme of the event “United in Hope.”

“We all know that there are inequalities out there. Some of us just don’t seem to care,” said Moseley.

The Juneteenth celebration in Appomattox is free for all. It’ll take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Courtland Festival Park in Appomattox.

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