Great Falls Celebrates Juneteenth Today

The Alexander Temple’s New Birth Choir opened the event.

The first Juneteen Celebration in Great Falls was held in Gibson Park today at the bandshell. The Cascade County Democratic Central Committee (CCDCC) was one of the sponsors of the event. A lot of work by the YWCA, Great Falls Public Library, NeighborWorks Great Falls, various organizations at Malmstrom AFB, and lots of other individuals including CCDCC members, went into planning and holding the event. It was a very enjoyable time and was well attended.

From the website Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Mayor Bob Kelly said that he believed the celebration being held in Great Falls today was the only major event in the state. A smaller gathering was held in Billings.

Mayor Bob Kelly reading the Proclamation made by the City of Great Falls recognizing Juneteenth, passed by the City Commission before it became a federal holiday.
Recognition of some of the volunteers for the event.
The Great Falls Public Library new bookmobile made an appearance at the event.
Mike and Candace Kramer check out the new bookmobile.
Lynette Scriver-Colburn, United Way of Cascade County, and Carol Woodson Bronson, NeighborWorks Great Falls, enjoying the festivities.
Cheryl and Greg Ulmer, Democratic precinct representatives for Precinct 19 E, and CCDCC Chair Ron Szabo in the middle. Cheryl was past CCDCC Chair and is currently CCDCC State Committeewoman.
CCDCC Treasurer Terri Nelson and Secretary Melissa Smith serve on the food line.
Commissioner Mary Sheehy Moe and an airman from Malmstrom AFB serve drinks.
CCDCC Vice Chair Helena Lovick was first to greet folks on the food line, handing out plates and napkins.
Senior Airman Jay Davis from Malmstrom AFB provided the crowd with some great jazz.
Antoinette Collins, with The Alexander Temple’s New Birth Choir, speaking to the crowd.
The cooks, personnel from Malmstrom AFB, were busy throughout the event.
Commissioner Mary Sheehy Moe joined in with her baton while The Alexander Temple’s New Birth Choir performed.
Powerful speech given by Anthony Gross at the Juneteenth event today.

Categories: Community Events

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