Juneteenth celebration set for Saturday

By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico

This year’s Juneteenth celebration won’t actually happen on June 19th in Clovis.

But it’ll be close enough for organizers.

In the early morning hours of June 20 — this Saturday — the cooking pits will be fired up as ribs, hot links, chicken, hamburgers, brisket and more make their way to the grill. If things go according to form, more than 3,000 people will make it out to Potter Park to take part.

The event commemorates June 19, the date slaves in Texas received word of their emancipation in 1865.

“It’s for everybody,” said William Hall, chief organizer for the Clovis event. “We’re doing it on the 20th, so everybody can be there.”

Hall said that he and about 15 other people will show up at around 4:30 a.m. Saturday to begin cooking 18 cases of meat.

“There’s so many people that show up, we want to get a head start on it,” said Hall, who estimated dishes will be plated starting at around 11:30 a.m.

Just after the Civil War ended, blacks in Galveston received word of their freedom on June 19. One legendary aspect of the Juneteenth origins, according to Hall, is the official emancipation took place in Texas on June 16. But word didn’t reach the affected segment of society for another three days.

“I feel strongly about it. We put it on, because it’s good to remember where you come from,” Hall said.