BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Many people came out to the Southern West Virginia Youth Museum for Beckley’s 17th annual Juneteenth festival on Saturday, June 19, 2021. For some, this year felt a little different.
On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a Federal Holiday. Food, prizes, and guest speakers were just a few things people saw when heading to the festival. The West Virginia National Guard was also at the festival to hand out free COVID-19 vaccines.
Trina Pannell is the President of the Beckley Juneteenth Festival.
“We are celebrating our freedoms and it is our duty to educate and dialog and educate everyone on this wonderful occasions,”Pannell said.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation Proclamation in 1863 declaring all slaves were free.
However, it was not until this day in 1865, the last union soldiers went to Galveston, Texas to tell the last slaves they were free.
Pannell said this will not be the last time a Juneteenth festival will be in the city of Beckley.
“You know in 1863 Lincoln emancipated but it wasn’t until two years later that they realized that they can walk off of the plantation. And so with that known it is so important to education the next person,” Pannell continued.
Celebrating the day of freedom.