Annual county Juneteenth celebration begins Saturday

This week marks the beginning of the annual Limestone County Juneteenth celebration, which takes place June 14-19 at Booker T. Washington Park, previously known as Comanche Crossing, originally located on the banks of the Navasota River.
On June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read on the Stroud Plantation, home to Limestone County’s largest population of slaves. This took place two-and-a-half years after the proclamation was issued by President Lincoln.
The sound of the good news led freed people to want to celebrate freedom. They gathered at Comanche Crossing, which had been a picnic ground since the early 1880s.
The festivities at Comanche Crossing were the first organized “Juneteenth” celebration to take place in the United States. The establishment of the Limestone County Juneteenth Organization occurred in 1892. The organization was one of three groups that owned their own grounds in Texas, the other two being in Houston and Austin. For 149 years celebrations have been held at Comanche Crossing. A historical marker noting the site’s significance was placed on the grounds in 1968, and Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday in 1980. As of May 2013, 43 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or special day of observance.

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