Norfolk, Va. (WAVY) — This Juneteenth weekend, communities across Hampton Roads are honoring American history.
The holiday commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. On June 19, 1865, army troops announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved blacks in Galveston, Texas were free. This was nearly three years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Second annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival kicked off with a Shark City drumline pep rally in front of the Slover library.
Tanya Shadley organized the freedom festival with the past in mind.
“It’s about inspiring with positivity, like overcoming with resilience and determination. That’s the reason behind why I do a lot of what I do,” said Shadley, founder of TRS PRODUCTIONS inc. “If they could do it with next to nothing, [I can do it] with the resources that I have now. Look at us!”
The Slover Library partnered with Shadley’s youth performing arts group to nearly transform every floor of the library with Black-owned businesses and creatives.
“This is what comradery looks like. This is what family looks. This is what support looks like,” said Norfolk City Councilwoman Danica Royster. “This is a perfect weekend to come and learn about our history. Juneteenth is Black history, which is American history! Everyone should know about what happened on Juneteenth in 1865.
The freedom festival was held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Slover Library foundation sponsored the event.