Montgomery County has been celebrating Juneteenth for more than 25 years.
“It is U.S. history, not just Black history, it’s U.S. history, and until we see that as part of a whole story, in my mind anyway, can we truly move forward,” said Jim Stowe, director of the county’s Office of Human Rights.
The county hosted its 26th Juneteenth celebration on Saturday at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown.
“It’s a celebration for all of us, we’re free,” said Nita Knight of Germantown.
Juneteenth recognizes the day when a U.S. General came before a crowd in Texas to read the general order implemented by Abraham Lincoln legally freeing enslaved people. It was June 19, 1865 — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
“This is information we need to know,” Knight said, “We need to be more educated on things because some of us growing up as children really didn’t have that information, so it’s here and they are giving it to us and we are grabbing it.”
“We want this community to understand that we are one community here in Montgomery County, we really are, we have many many different parts, we’ve got to find ways to continue to work to have all those parts be just as important as the next,” Stowe said.
Stowe said the journey to true freedom continues.
“Even today, we are still constantly trying to get to a point where people can see themselves as whole people,” he said.
“I do like the event, it was pretty good last year and I decided I would come back this year,” said art vendor Orville Gayle, who owns Abeng Arts and Crafts, “There’s so many places I could be today but I chose to be here.”
And on Friday at BlackRock Center, County Executive Marc Elrich presented the African American Living Legend Awards.
— Maryam Shahzad (@maryam_mcm) June 17, 2023