xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Honoring Juneteenth: Anne Arundel residents, groups plan events in Laurel, Annapolis and Washington, D.C.

The march makes its up Main Street. Protesters lead a peaceful march, from the Market House to the State House, in Annapolis to commemorate the life of George Floyd and to draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, Tuesday evening.
The march makes its up Main Street. Protesters lead a peaceful march, from the Market House to the State House, in Annapolis to commemorate the life of George Floyd and to draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, Tuesday evening. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

A year after the Anne Arundel County Council passed a resolution honoring Juneteenth, several events and protests honoring the event or calling for racial equality will be held Friday and Saturday.

Juneteenth marks the day slaves in Texas found out they had been freed and the Civil War had ended. The news reached them on June 19, 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and a few months after the war’s end. President Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves, was also assassinated a couple of months earlier.

Advertisement

This year, Juneteenth will be celebrated amid daily protests and a surging Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality and for racial equality following the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer after he knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes.

A Freedom Day March on Juneteenth in Washington, D.C., has been planned by some local Anne Arundel residents. The march will last from 2 to 5 p.m. and will meet at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, 1400 Constitution Ave.

Advertisement

Morgan Barnhart was raised in Anne Arundel County but wanted to have this march in the nation’s capital because that is where the power lies for change.

“This march is on this day due to the great significance of this day in the African American community, and this is the freedom day for our people,” Barnhart said. “This is where we were finally made aware of our freedom. This holiday isn’t very recognized in our culture at this time.”

Barnhart and organizers saw the event as a way to teach people about the importance of Juneteenth and march for justice.

“Through this movement, we saw the opportunity to highlight and celebrate black culture while educating the community in the hopes to make change in policy,” Barnhart said. “Make this movement for black lives something that will make history and everlasting change.

The Freedom Day March is expecting a large crowd of more than 2,000 people with that many saying they are interested on the event’s social media page. Barnhart hopes to share her meaning of Juneteenth with all participants.

“It means good honest freedom,” she said. “Black people have been oppressed for as long as we can remember and even now. This march and this day signify a day that we as a nation can come together and really bask in what America is all about, and that is freedom. Freedom for all.”

Malik Harris, of Bowie, is helping Barnhart plan the event in D.C. He said he attended early protests and was tear-gassed with his hands up. Harris said he views the issue as a public health problem and the black community needs more support. He said his parents raised him a certain way and told him the black experience is different from others with unfair profiling and differing treatment.

“We saw a lack of organization and lack of leadership and educating the public, so then the idea came to host something ourselves,” Harris said. “That was a tremendous effort, a lot of calling and emailing within three days.”

Other protests, marches this weekend

Annapolis will also have a march on Juneteenth starting at the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial that will head to the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial on City Dock.

While the march is taking place Juneteenth, it will include a prayer vigil for black lives lost to injustice. The Prince Hall Masons of Maryland organize the march.

“We thought it was necessary to tie our history of Juneteenth and the freedom struggles we have had for equal justice this year,” said Terence Clegg, director of community engagement. “We want to assert our voice when it comes to that, people think of masons as a secretive organization, but we are taking extra steps to show we are on the forefront of the fight for justice.”

The Masons group chose to hold its march in Annapolis since it is the capital and seat of power in the state. While some consider the Masons secretive, Clegg said members include firefighters, paramedics, paramedics and even Annapolis Police Chief Ed Jackson, who will attend the march.

Advertisement

“We have a lot of blue-collar workers but we also have police [officers], firefighters and politicians in our ranks, we feel like we our in a unique position,” Clegg said. “We have a viewpoint of all Marylanders and we can bring a unique voice from all sides.”

More events:

  • Another Juneteenth focused event dubbed a celebration will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in Severn in the 700 block of Donaldson Avenue.
  • Some recent Meade High School graduates are also planning a Black Lives Matter march at 1 p.m. Saturday, starting at the Russett Library parking lot in Laurel. Snacks will be provided and attendees are asked to bring signs and wear masks.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement