Juneteenth is now an official federal holiday in the USA
Friendship Park in Social Circle was home to the first Juneteenth Celebration in Walton County and, despite the rain, those in attendance had a great celebration.
Photos courtesy of Social Circle Councilman Tyson Jackson.
“Well, the FIRST Annual Social Circle Juneteenth Festival is in the books! What an amazing event and turnout. The rain couldn’t even stop us,” Social Circle resident Matthew Gunn wrote on his Facebook page, sharing photographs of the event. “Thankful to God to be able to help facilitate this historical/monumental event in my hometown along with an incredible team. Special thanks to the Juneteenth committee for staying with the vision. Thank you to all the sponsors, vendors, artists/performers, honorees, and our community. The support was real! Plans are already underway for next year’s event… doing it bigger and better. Let’s start praying for a sunny day.”
Social Circle Councilman Tyson Jackson and the Juneteenth Committee spent countless hours pulling together the inaugural event. At the time the planning began, it was only an official holiday in Texas. But last week that changed. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The bill recognizes June 19, 1865, the day Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger led soldiers to Galveston, Texas, to let it be known that the Union had won the war and the ending of slavery would be enforced. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on June 17, 2021.
As is the case in most of the country, Walton County has slavery in its history, as noted in the story written in the 2021 Spring-Summer issue of Walton Living Magazine by Christy Breedlove. But it is the triumph over adversity that is celebrated in the story. There are other Walton County descendants of slaves whose stories help make up the rich history of the County, such as the story of Alonzo Herndon. Born the son of a slave in Social Circle on June 26, 1858, Herndon went on to become Atlanta’s first black millionaire. He made a lasting contribution to the African American community nationwide with the founding of the Atlanta Life Insurance company, still in operation today. Click or tap on this link to read the full story of this hometown African American who made sure he left an incredible legacy for those who came after him.
Monroe resident Elizabeth Jones, along with a group of volunteers, is working to revive Zion Hill Cemetery in Monroe, an African American Cemetery on Alcovy Street, that had been neglected for decades. Volunteers used June 19th as one of the volunteer days. There are still many opportunities available to get involved. Click or tap on this link to read about the project and how you can get involved.