LOUISVILLE, Ky. —
Juneteenth is the day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.
A committee in Louisville has worked for the last year to ensure events were engaging while being educational.
Wanda Mitchell Smith chairs the Juneteenth Jubilee Commissioners which plans activities and events leading up to and on June 19.
“We are a group of 16 commissioners that come together, and we organize events to be able to celebrate throughout the City of Louisville, through partnering and corporate sponsors and that type of thing because it should be celebrated,” Smith said.
She explains why some parts of Kentucky celebrate the day differently and Louisville particularly on June 19.
“Kentucky, and specifically Louisville, our history is that we did not actually celebrate Juneteenth until much later,” she said. “In western Kentucky, it’s called Homecoming and those type of festivals [are celebrated on] August 8. We actually did not receive the Juneteenth information until December. And so we’ve got a lot of different days, but for Louisville, we’re going to celebrate with Texas on June 19.”
Smith explains the importance of commemorating the national holiday.
“We want our history to be learned. It everyone needs to know the history. It's not black history. It's American history. And therein lies the red, white and blue. It is American history. So yes, we want our history to be told, We don't ever want to forget it,” she said.
Prior to public celebrations, elders had to continue the traditions hoping to keep the history alive. Smith talks about that ancestral documentation and its importance.
"It's the oak acorn concept, you know, are our elders for the wisdom to be able to share the knowledge with the young ones that you know, so they can go back and be able to share with their future. This is about making the future the future, and continuing our story, and continuing it on".
Monday at 6 p.m. it’s “Let's Talk-Bridging the Divide” at the Frazier History Museum.
Also, this evening at the Louisville Central Community Centers they are hosting their ‘6th Annual Juneteenth’ event. Their event is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.