Although churches in the region have been hosting June 10th celebrations for some time, the new recognition as a federal holiday is of particular importance.
ROSSFORD, Ohio – Juniteenth marks the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983 after President Joe Biden signed the historic law earlier this week.
The holiday honors the liberation of the last enslaved African Americans from Galveston, Texas in 1863, who were freed more than two years after the original Emancipation Proclamation.
The people in the Toledo area celebrated the importance of the new federal holiday with a festival on Saturday.
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Friends and neighbors of Rossford First Baptist Church joined forces with music, food, and fun to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.
“We’re doing St. Patrick’s Day, we’re doing Cinco de Mayo, and now we can celebrate Juneteenth. Where my children who stand behind me can have a family celebration about our heritage,” said Richard Jackson Sr., Rossford First Baptist Church Board of Trustees.
This is not the first time the Rossford First Baptist Church family has held a June celebration.
They have been doing it for a decade. But this year is now very special as the Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday.
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“Today is just a special day, as Juneteenth is now a national holiday. We are just wonderfully blessed to have this inducted into Congress and approved,” said Gloria Tisdale, superintendent of the Church Sunday School.
Tisdale says she started the tradition because there wasn’t much talk of its history in the area and she wanted to change that.
“Juneteenth has always been special to each and every one of the students who were in my class because it’s our background,” said Tisdale.
Over the years June 19th has become a day for them to celebrate who they are and their story.
In the Church, they strive to organize their June 10th celebrations about family and fellowship coming together.