Friday, June 15, 2012

Juneteenth in San Diego




There were no less than four Juneteenth Celebrations in San Diego last weekend and the oldest of them was sponsored by the Cooper Family as the continuation of a practice that the father started more than 50 years ago. The late Mr. Cooper known as the Mayor of Imperial Avenue where he had his businesses, thought the remembering of the freeing of the slaves as they got word in Texas two years after the fact was important. While President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which went into effect on January 1, 1863, it was two and a half years before union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, announced the end of the Civil War and read the proclamation freeing the quarter of a million slaves residing in the State of Texas.

Every Juneteenth, the Cooper s turn the block of 30th and Imperial Avenue into a Black Independence Day block party offering a variety of activities from free food, vendors, African dancers, speakers, kid zones, DJ and live music for everyone to enjoy. The Cooper’s event continues to grow and has become a main Junteenth celebration for the community of San Diego as a whole since people now come from all over the county to participate. As one participant stated “every time I come here I have a good time. It’s cool when you can see old friends you haven’t seen in a while and also meet some new people. Most of us grew-up over here and it brings back a lot memories, said Vernell Gillard.

Not too far from the Cooper’s event, Market Creek’s Juneteenth celebration also offered plenty of information and good times. Many participants came out to enjoy the festive atmosphere and all the occasion represents. While yet at the Admiral Baker’s Field, the Black American Political Action Committee held its Juneteenth celebration adding yet another location for fun.

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