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Juneteenth Observance 2020

South Texas College Library Hosting 2020 Juneteenth Observation
Series of events to celebrate the history of African American culture in McAllen

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The South Texas College Library and the RGV Juneteenth Committee observe Juneteenth 2020 with three days of virtual programming beginning June 17th – 19th on the STC Library Blog: https://library.southtexascollege.edu/tag/juneteenth/.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States, enacted on June 19, 1865, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Texas. It is celebrated every June 19 and is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in forty-five states, including Texas.

McAllen celebrations and events will begin on Saturday, June 13 and run until June 19, 2020, with a proclamation of the historical observation with McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. Clean-up events, cultural arts and book displays, a documentary and screening are just some of the events scheduled for the celebration this year highlighting the theme “Perfecting Unity.”

“It is important to recognize the historical and cultural contributions of African Americans to the city and appreciate the value of diversity. We are devoted to ensuring the equitable and inclusive treatment of all citizens and visitors to our community,” said Mayor Darling. “In fact, now more than ever, we need healthy and respectful dialogue that addresses the issue of race relations of this and every community in the United States. I hope everyone in the community can come take part of this celebration.”

McAllen’s celebrations will be capped off with a brief reflection service on Friday, June 19 that will begin at Bethel Garden, 1322 S 16th St., starting at 10:00 a.m. Immediately following the ceremony, a “CARavan” will take off from Faith Fellowship Church, 600 S. 21st St., and make its way to McAllen City Hall, 1300 W. Houston Ave., for a proclamation celebration at 12:00 p.m.

Here in the Rio Grande Valley, the African American community continues to grow, especially in McAllen where the African-American population is roughly 1% of the total 143,000 residents.

For a full list of events and activities go to the Rio Grande Valley Juneteenth website at http://juneteenthrgv.com or contact the South Texas College Library at (956) 872-3488, gotvos@southtexascollege.edu or visit: https://library.southtexascollege.edu.

  1. “Just a Ferry Ride to Freedom”


“Just a Ferry Ride to Freedom” showcases stories about the Texas-Mexico border and its connection to the Underground Railroad.

About the film, the Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) at UTRGV says, “Rooted in pre-Civil War Texas along the Rio Grande between the emerging cities of Laredo and Brownsville, this film highlights mixed-race ranches in Hidalgo County and illustrates how culturally diverse the Rio Grande Valley really is. Lifeways developed during that time still influence life along the border and across the US today. Featured in the film are community leaders, ranchers, scholars, and historians who find out how a just a ferry ride across the border to freedom altered the course of US history.”

2. Mural of Bethel Baptist Missionary Church & Booker T. Washington School

Interview with muralist Cristela Cano about her painting located at South 16th St and Booker T. Washington Avenue. The mural depicts the importance of the African American church and the Booker T. Washington School that were a part of what was once a thriving African American neighborhood in McAllen.

Interview with Mrs. Lula Eugene Stroud, a former student of Booker T. Washington school:

Juneteenth 2019 Tribute to Mrs. Stroud; This video was prepared for the Juneteenth 2019 Tribute to Mrs. Lula Eugene Stroud. It is comprised of a portion of her 2018 UTRGV oral history interview along with images of Booker T. Washington School, Bethel Garden, and Restlawn Cemetery., 2019-06-18. University Library, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas. https://archive.org/details/StroudTribute_Juneteenth2019 

3. McAllen City Hall – Reading of the RGV Juneteenth Observance Proclamation (Proclamation begins at 8 : 30 after community speakers)

Juneteenth 2020