Hundreds gathered in Market Square June 19 as the city marked the end of slavery in the U.S. with a Juneteenth musical celebration featuring the Jubilee Voices of the Washington Revels.
“We have been collaborating with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices for over four years,” said Audrey Davis, Director of the African American History Division of the Office of Historic Alexandria. “They do traditional African American music and the concert is the conclusion to our Juneteenth celebration.”
Juneteenth, an abbreviation of “June Nineteenth,” marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. Juneteenth, which honors the end of slavery in the United States, officially became a federal holiday in 2021.
Other Juneteenth events included a community cleanup of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Penny Hill Cemeteries. Established in 1895 as a non-denominational African American cemetery, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Cemetery is the final resting place for 2,256 people and the largest African American Cemetery in Alexandria.
At the Black History Museum, the Storytelling for Young Historians event featured Lillian Patterson, a Living Legend of Alexandria and descendant of slaves. Patterson read to children then led a Juneteenth craft project.
Said Washington Revels Executive Director Tamara Williams, “We want people to know and really understand that Juneteenth is an important thing to celebrate.”