DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Juneteenth, a holiday that originated in Galveston Texas, celebrates the end of slavery for African-Americans.
“Everybody is able to celebrate and acknowledge this holiday across the country because of the signing of a federal holiday so we’re excited about that here in Alabama,’ said Tri-State Expo spokesperson Leah Gunn.
Typically, the holiday is celebrated on June 19th.
“Its too much history involved for it to be secluded with the one day,” Gunn said.
That’s why the celebration in Dothan will start weeks earlier to prevent competing with other major communities — to kick off the holiday-filled month is a jazz concert with representation from the NAACP and the 2nd annual Juneteenth parade.
“The parade is going to start off on east Lafayette, all the way down North Foster, onto south, and then on Troy street and make another turn on Saint Andrews and end right in front of the civic center,” Gunn said.
In the past, Tri-State Expo and the city bumped heads over wanting the parade to go down Main Street. Although that request was denied and they still have hopes to move to Main Street, they are looking at the bigger picture — the city being receptive to the holiday and its events.
“We’re excited about the backing from the police department, fire department, our mayor Mark Saliba, the progress that has been made between last year and now is notable and deserves to be celebrated as well,” Gunn said.
Gunn hopes with these Juneteenth events it will spark partnerships with small black businesses and open the door for other cultural events.
“You may get a series of no’s but every no does not lead to a dead-end sometimes you have to keep fighting for change,” She said.