SLAC Today logo

Juneteenth Celebration Today

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived on Galveston Island to take possession of Texas and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. In commemoration of this anniversary, SLAC will celebrate Juneteenth today beginning at 11:30 a.m. with a program acknowledging the abolitionists and the Underground Railroad. The celebration will continue at 12:00 p.m. with a barbecue and live music provided by The Rick Baker Blues Band.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Celebrations for Juneteenth began in Texas in 1866, and have since spread throughout the country.

This year, the lab will also be recognizing SLAC Controls Systems Analyst Jim Knopf, the great-great-great-great grandson of abolitionist John Brown. Many historians believe Brown helped push the country into civil war. He led skirmishes in the Bleeding Kansas hostilities and the unsuccessful raid on the Harper's Ferry Armory in Virginia, a campaign intended to arm southern slaves.

"I'm not sure I would have been able to do it," said Knopf. "But it was probably necessary."

Though he doesn't usually partake in special events himself, Knopf believes it is very important to remember the work of Brown and other abolitionists.

"I don't believe they get enough recognition historically," said Knopf. "I'm very thankful to those doing the work necessary to keep their message out there."

For more information, please contact Michelle Smith at x4154. Tickets for the Juneteenth celebration ($12) will be available at the event.

—Ken Kingery, SLAC Today, June 15, 2007

Above image: Juneteenth 2006. (Click on image for larger version.)