Germantown remembers, celebrates the 154th anniversary of Juneteenth

Shara Dae Howard
June 16, 2019 - 7:15 pm

Shara Dae Howard/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Juneteenth in Germantown isn't just a celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

"How long were we free before we found out we were free," asked Vashti Dubois, founder of the Colored Girl Museum.

The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, two and a half years after the Civil War ended. However, most slaves were kept in dark about their freedom for years.

That was until June 19, 1865 — now known as Juneteenth — the date when slaves across the United States leared about their freedom.

Dubois says Germantown and Juneteeth are historically intertwined.

"Germantown has such a heavy duty enslavement history from Stenton House to the underground railroad in these spaces," Dubois explained. 

Attendee Erica Hawkins says Juneteenth, in Germantown, isn't just about one day or a month long celebration.

"Germantown has a significant history and place for the black community in Philadelphia," she said. "This is just where life for the black community lives."

Today's Juneteenth celebration in these spaces, Dubois says, is an attempt to heal old wounds.

"How we celebrate Juneteenth, in some ways, provides us with the opportunity to at least spiritaully reclaim some of that time we lost, because we didn't know."