African American Cultural Society commemorates end of slavery with Juneteenth celebration
As members of the crowd gathered at the African American Cultural Society shouted out names of their ancestors, Brenda Andrews poured out water from a pitcher into a bowl, honoring each name. In unison, the audience responded by saying “namaste” and “asante.” Andrews called the libation a salute to divinity.
“The DNA is not just the color of our skin, the texture of our hair, the color of our eyes,” Andrews said. “The DNA that’s in us — that’s defined in us from one generation to the other — is the DNA of not overcomers but of people who are victorious in everything that we do. I want you to think about your grandparents, your great-great-grandparents — all the people that we are standing on their shoulders today. How they had to suffer, but yet they succeeded — because we are here. Well, that’s what libations are all about.”
The holiday is officially observed on June 19, as it was that day in 1865 when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger led soldiers to Galveston, Texas and declared the end of the Civil War, launching freedom of enslaved people. This was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863.
At the AACS located at 4422 N. U.S. 1, the history of Juneteenth was shared to a packed room. The lively crowd clapped and sang along to praise songs performed by the Palm Coast United Methodist gospel choir and the “Heavenly Warriors.” LaToya McCray and Clayton Beauford performed spoken word pieces, Anthony Felton read the Juneteenth Observance, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church adult liturgical dancers performed, and AACS President Joseph Mathews read a proclamation that was sent over by Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland.