Port Huron celebrates Juneteenth with food, fun, and awareness

Although it has only recently been recognized as a federal holiday, Juneteenth has been observed and celebrated for approximately 150 years or so by those in the African American community. This year, organizations across Port Huron worked together to join in the commemoration of the holiday through a community-wide event offering live performances, educational speakers, food, games, and other activities at St. Clair County Community College (SC4) on Saturday, June 18.

The United States of America has its fair share of dark moments in its history, one of which was considering people — chiefly African Americans — as legal property, able to be purchased and sold as easily as a bag of wheat. On Jan. 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation declared all slaves free and though Texas was still under Confederate control during that time, two years later on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, Union General Gordon Granger read General Order Number 3 announcing all slaves free in the state of Texas — the last remaining in the nation.

As a celebration of that date, Juneteenth was born. A combination of June and the 19th is how it got its unique name. Considered by some to be America's second Independence Day, Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, making it the first new federal holiday since Dr. Martin Luther King Day, according to whitehouse.gov.

Thomason Band providing the crowd with live music during the Port Huron Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 18.

This year’s Port Huron Juneteenth Celebration with its tagline “Educating, Empowering, Entertaining,” was coordinated by AAmos Consulting Group through the partnership of several local organizations including Port Huron Museums, SCCORE, Port Huron NAACP, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Black Lives Matter Port Huron, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion office at SC4, #C4YourselfChurch, the City of Port Huron, and the Blue Water Area Chamber.

Thelma Castillo, President and CEO of the Blue Water Area Chamber, and her team helped to find local African American business owners to participate as vendors at the celebration.

“We just want to support our community in any way we can, and diversity and inclusion is something we feel that one must be intentional about to make change,” Castillo says.

Alphonso Amos, Founder and Managing Partner of AAmos Consulting Group.The event featured live music from The Thomason Band, a host of organizations providing resources for the community, food and art vendors, clothing, jewelry, and more.

Alphonso Amos, Founder and Managing Partner of AAmos Consulting Group, says he was really pleased with the turnout of the event and the teamwork brought forth by those involved.

“We all brought our own thoughts, ideas, and networks to the table which made it a very successful event. We hope to make this an annual celebration and are already in the planning stages for next year,” says Amos.
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Read more articles by Harold Powell.

Harold Powell is the Community Correspondent for The Keel and owner of Phantom Pen Media offering multimedia services to individuals and organizations across the Blue Water Area. He is a current board member for the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce and the most recent Chamber Choice recipient at the Eddy Awards. Harold is an avid volunteer for the YMCA of the Blue Water Area as well as Bridge Builders Counseling & Mentoring and in his spare time, enjoys spending time with his son, writing and listening to music, playing video games, and not folding laundry.