All Eastern Shore residents and visitors to the area are invited to celebrate the historic Juneteenth National Freedom Day on Saturday, June 19th, 2021 at Exmore Town Park.
This year marks the 22nd annual Juneteenth Celebration on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, organized by the Juneteenth Coalition. The Eastern Shore’s Juneteenth celebrates African-American freedom and achievement, encourages strong family structure, and emphasizes the importance of the deep belief in liberty and equality for all people. It is important for the community to be informed about the historical significance of the Eastern Shore as it relates to slavery and emancipation.
Juneteenth – its roots in Texas – is the oldest recorded celebration observing the ending of enslavement in the United States. In 1865, news traveled slowly. It wasn’t until June 19th, when the Union soldiers landed in Galveston, TX and shared the news of the end of the Civil War, did the formerly enslaved learn they were now “forever free”. The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed by President Abraham Lincoln more than two and a half years earlier, on January 1st, 1863.
Governor Ralph Northam made Juneteenth a permanent state holiday in 2020. “Since 1619, when representative democracy and enslaved African people arrived in Virginia within a month of each other, we have said one thing but done another,” said Governor Northam at the time of the announcement. “It’s time we elevate Juneteenth not just as a celebration by and for some Virginians, but one acknowledged and commemorated by all of us. It mattered then because it marked the end of slavery in this country, and it matters now because it says to Black communities, ‘this is not just your history – this is everyone’s shared history, and we will celebrate it together.'”
The Eastern Shore will celebrate Juneteenth with a socially-distanced Unity Parade, kicking off at 12pm from Fresh Market Plaza, located on Route 13 (Lankford Highway) in Exmore, creating a Juneteenth that goes beyond the limitations of physical boundaries, as freedom should know no limits. The Unity Parade will follow the parade route through Main Street to Exmore Town Park, where the Northampton County Health Department will provide COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who wants one.
For more information about the Unity Parade and Celebration, contact Gerald Boyd, email@example.com, 757-656-3460, or Janice Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org, 757-710-0330. For more information about the vaccinations, contact Jane G. Cabarrus at email@example.com, 804-513-0532.