Weather Threat Forces Selma’s Juneteenth Celebration to Go Virtual

The first-ever Juneteenth federal holiday has led to celebrations scheduled throughout the weekend. But the Juneteenth celebration in Selma has changed, due to the threat of heavy rain from a tropical weather system.

Organizers say the inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Fest will now be a virtual event. Organizers were planning to have a huge outdoor festival to celebrate the country’s newest national holiday.

“We will host a virtual town hall,” organizer Lydia Chatmon told Alabama News Network. “It’s going to be an awesome opportunity for our community to get together on Facebook. Find the Selma Center page, or the page for the Black Belt Community Foundation.”

Juneteenth marks the end of slavery in the U.S.,  two and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.

“Although the Civil War ended back in 1865 in April, many people didn’t get notice until later on. And the last set of people to get notice was in Galveston, Texas, back in June of 1865. And it was June 19th, such the word Juneteenth. Some folks call it Emancipation Day, some folks call it Freedom Day and some folks call it Victory Day,” Emancipation Proclamation committee member Collins Pettaway said.

Juneteenth Freedom Fest is sponsored by Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation — Selma.

Officials say the street festival will now be held August 7, to commemorate the signing of the Voting Rights Act.


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