Recognizing Juneteenth in Delaware County

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Delaware County Council declared June 19 as Juneteenth in Delaware County during their June 17 public council meeting.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced the end of both the Civil War and slavery. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln, which had legally freed slaves on January 1, 1863, almost 2½ years earlier. Many slaves, particularly in Texas and other southwestern states were not informed of the Emancipation Proclamation until General Granger’s announcement.

The holiday received its name by combining June and 19. The day is also sometimes called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day.”

In 1980, Texas became the first state to designate Juneteenth as a holiday. Since then, 45 other states, including Pennsylvania have declared Juneteenth a state holiday. In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 9, formerly House Bill 619, which designates June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” in Pennsylvania.

“Council is proud to officially recognize June 19 as Juneteenth in Delaware County,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “Juneteenth serves as a day for residents to celebrate the ending of slavery in the United States and an opportunity for our entire community to learn more about African American history, which will contribute to a deeper understanding of the experiences that have shaped African Americans and our Country.”

Traditionally, there have been many events held across the County to commemorate Juneteenth, however some were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there are a few taking place:

On June 19 from noon to 5pm there will be a Juneteenth celebration at the Veterans Memorial on Rt. 3 in Newtown Square.

On June 19, members of the Chester community will present a fireworks demonstration at 9:15pm at the Chester Waterfront on Seaport Drive. 100 cars will be permitted into the parking lot and residents can also view the display from their homes.

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About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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