Juneteenth celebration in Appomattox highlights county’s connection to the holiday

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

APPOMATTOX, Va. (WFXR) — A special celebration was held in Appomattox on Saturday afternoon to honor Juneteenth.

Many gathered on Saturday, June 19 to learn the history and celebrate the recent progress of the holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and is sparking more of a desire to learn and teach in Appomattox.

The theme for this year’s Juneteenth celebration was “United in Hope.” Organizers say they’re hoping more people become educated about the holiday.

“This is my first year celebrating what we call a Juneteenth,” said 84-year-old Barbara W. Daniel from Farmville.

Daniel is originally from South Carolina and moved to Farmville around the age of 40. She quickly learned what she thought she should have known all along.

“There was nothing in the books, they had no books that taught us our history,” Daniel said.

As she spent time in Virginia, she became more aware of the 1865 Confederacy surrender in Appomattox and the burdens held by African Americans in Virginia, including her parents.

“It’s a hurtful feeling, I could have done more in pushing forward our history had I known some of the things about our history,” said Daniel.

During Saturday’s celebration at Courtland Park, vendors and speakers shared the role Appomattox played in emancipation.

“Appomattox is, of course, where the beginning of the end of the Civil War occurs when Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia, which was the first major army of the Confederacy to surrender and that created a domino effect,” said Joseph Servis, a local historian.

That effect led to Emancipation Day in Galveston, Texas, which was previously named ‘Freedom Day’ in Appomattox.

Servis and Appomattox for Equality want to make sure the community is informed of its history and knows more action needs to be taken.

“We can’t just settle with it being a holiday, we need legislation to be passed. We as a people, everyone,” said Shronda Mosley, president of Appomattox For Equality. “We have more work to be done.”

“I want to go grab all my grandchildren and make them understand their history, not only my grandchildren but children,” Daniel said.

Appomattox For Equality recommends taking advantage of exhibits on the history of the area at the Moten Museum of Farmville and the Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park.

Editor’s Note: WFXR News has revised the article above which previously mentioned that the Charlottesville Emancipation commemoration is held after Appomattox’s commemoration. The Charlottesville commemoration is held in March. Due to incorrect information submitted to WFXR News, this has been changed. WFXR News regrets the error.

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