Organizers hope Juneteenth Festival will be an awakening
By DAMON FORD / |
One hundred and thirty-four
years ago next Saturday, hundreds
of slaves in Galveston. Texas,
received word that freedom had
finally come. ? >
After the proclamation celebra
tions erupted around the state as
ex-slaves celebrated their liberation
and went out to be reunited with
long lost family members. '
The celebration of Juneteenth
continues today across the nation
and is widely recognized as the old
est black historical holiday.
Next Saturday, the inaugural
Juneteenth Festival will be held in
Winston-Salem ^t the Winston
Lake YWCA. The event will begin
with a ceremonial march from the
front of the recreation center on
Waterworks Driv<; to the rear
where a multitude 6f activities will
take place commemorating this
"It's a cel
the ending of
we felt it was
that we edu- .
cate our I
youth about |
it." said Win
ston Lake Y's
After the march, a reading of
the 1863 Emancipation Proclama
tion will be given, and then a sum
man of the history of Juneteenth
will be read.1 ?
One of the fallacies surround
ing this history is the notion slaves
in Texas were not privy to the
Emancipation Proclamation's exis
tence for two years. The truth is
that Lincoln's proclamation was
not the document by whidh slaves
in the Confederate South were
Since the Confederate states
were in a state of rebellion against
the governing power of Lincoln
and Union laws, the Emancipation
Proclamation was looked on as
just another piece of paper.
The 13th Amendment, added
to the Constitution a couple of
weeks before the slaves in Texas
' were told of their freedom, acted
as the hand that provided the
strength to lift the heavy gavel of
"There are so many people who
are not aware (of the holiday),"
said Deloris Huntley, gne of the
event's organizers. "We want to
give them a realistic view of what
happened at that time."
In addition to getting a history
lesson, all those present at the
Juneteenth Festival will be able to
participate in a crafts and food fair
featuring various vendors and will
be entertained by stories from the
Black Story-Tellers Association
and a number of musical perfor
One of the highlights of the
event will be the honoring of indi
viduals and families who have had
a lasting effect on Winston-Salem
and Forsyth County.
"There are people who were the
ground-layers in our community,"
saia Debra James, another orga
nizer. "We need to honor where we
All in all, organizers are happy
with the way things are going so
far. Of course with any event you
put together for the first time, one
can always find a few bumps in the
road. But Harry says because of.
the hard work and collaborative
efforts of local businesses and
agencies, things have run pretty
"It's come together fairly well
considering the time frame we're
in," she said. "We just rolled up our
sleeves and started to work."
? The idea of starting a Juns
teenth Festival in Winston-Saleii
was born from a committee tf
workers who have put together thf
annual Kwanzaa celebration ever*
December. With a little over |
week remaining until the celebnf
tion, Harry says they now ai|
focusing on "getting the word out?
about the festival through flyert
radio announcements and word a
mouth, which will hopefully genes
ate a crowd upwards of 300.
"We are excited with anticip^
tion of how it will turn out," Hurf
said. "Our vision is that it will be
an awakening in Winston-Salem.t
Caucus still stinging after coup attempt
By ANGELA BLRRI S
CONSOLIDATED MEDIA GROL P
RALEIGH - Since January's
legislative election for the N.C.
House speakership between Reps.
Jim Black. D-Mecklenburg. and
Dan Blue. D-Wake, ties between
members of the Legislative Black
Caucus -have been strained. But
several legislators, and observers,
describe the organization's friction
as mere hurdles in the road toward
"The caucus will get over this
<*arid come together as a family."
nist. "This is
just a bump
in the road."
most of the organization's disunity
as hype generated by people to
"exploit and divide the caucifs."
"There may be a sense of dis
unity in the public's eye. but
behind the scenes there is some
unity, because they have to see
each other every- day ... work
' together to vote and decide on
However several people,
including legislators, hardly paint t
a portrait of a caucus united.
. For Rep Howard Hunter, D
Northampton. the past months
have been anything but a "family."
'"In a way. I feel isolated," he
Hunter also refers to colleagues
Rep. Toby Fitch. D-Wilson: Rep.
Mary McAllister. D-Cumberland:
Rep. Alma Adams. D-Guilford;
and Rep. Mickey Michaux. D
~ ".Durham. who faced the Democ
* rats: wrath by voting for Blue in
, January. Black defeated Blue 60-59
with 11 caucus members voting for
Black and five, along Vith the ^
entire Republican delegation, vot
ing for Blue.
} Since the vote, members have
been known as the "Defiant Five"
and have betjn the object of
1 ( ridicule by o,ther caucus members
? for dividing the group, he said.
For example. Rep. Pete Cun
? ningham told a gathering at a.town
! half meeting May 14 during the
i Bfack Caucus 'Conference Week
end that Democrats are holding
] onto power "by a thread." because
J some members are voting with
\ ; Republicans on every bill. '
\ Hunter countered by saying
that members side ^'ith Republi
cans if they are willing to support
Hunter said the caucus voted
in November to support Blue only
to back out in January.
"A few minutes before the vot
ing everyone verified that they
would stick with Dan Blue."
Hunter said. "Only five of us stuck
with our decision.'." ?
As a result. Blue lost, and the
crack became evident.
"These kinds of things left a
bad taste in everybody's mouth."
A* a result of Black s victory,
several of the black Mecklenburg
County House members who sup
ported him won chairmanships
and co-chairmanships to influen
tial committees. Blue and his sup
porters lost clout, especially when
it came to passing bills.
Several bills introduced by Blue
and his supporters that would
impact African Americans were
rejected or not even considered
because .they proposed them.
For example. Blue introduced a
bill that would establish the Mar
tin Luther King Jr. Race Relations
Center by appropriating $500,000
for research schplars to seek solu
tions.to racial issues facing society.
When it was time to vote. Hunter
recalls, one member said the bill
was sponsored by the wrong per
son. In addition. Hunter intro
duced a bill that encouraged
minority community development
that failed to win funding.
The caucus split also hit home,
said Bruce Lightner,, co-chair of
the Raleigh/Wake Martin Luther
King Celebration Committee. He
sent letters to caucus members and
Gov. Jim Hunt urging them not to
let personal issuesdeter them from
pursuing meaningful projects that
will affect African Americans.
"For years we have worked in
the vineyards and in the trenches
to help get black folk elected to
high office...into positions of influ
ence and power." Lightner said. "It
is absolutely mind-blowing having
to encounter missions and mad
ness. from them ... which hinders
or does not directly benefit the
progress of our community. Black
folks need to wake up. and it
should start at the top."
Hunter is still puzzled why
most caucus members changed
their minds during the election as
well as killing their bills and not
talking with them. But he stressed
Blue's supporters have been work
ing on a reconciliation.
"I predict things will get bet
ter." Hunter said. "But the sooner,
the better. Until we're able to talk .
together effectively, we're going to
Hunter has even enlisted the
aid of Jim Richardson, a promi
nent Mecklenburg County com
missioner and former caucus
member, to help them strengthen
ties with other members. But so
far. the Black group has refused to
However, Richardson said
both sides are eager to move on.
Hf said he plans to get both sides
to meet and'tilk but their prob
' I see tjrem getting past this,"
Richardson said. "They need to
realize that Jan. 27 is just one day.
Everyone don't have to like each
other, just as long as they are on
one accord. I was on the Legisla
ture for 10 years, and we had 25
members on the caucus. Although
we didn't always agree or get
along, we spoke as one person.
The Black Caucus will only
have power if they are on the same
wave length on the issues."
Cunningham said at the meet
ing that he prayed for the caucus to
come together because everyone
working together can "move more
most people |
some think it
could have a
on other par
"The Black Caucus is small,
but they usually agree on a lot of
issues," said Andrew Taylor, assis
tant professor of political science
at N.C. State. University. "They are
not used to disunity, unlike the
Democratic Caucus. But in the
long run, I wonder how it is going
to affect its ties with white Democ
rats, since they need a lot of their
support in voting for some bills, as
well as the possibility of welcom
ing black Republicans."
The Rev. William Barber, min
ister of Green Christian Church
and chairperson of N.C. Political
Action, said the caucus should be
joined by public policy in covering
the issues that will affect African
Americans instead of political par
ties or personalities
He suggests the organization
form a clear public policy agenda
that includes its own budget and
"I don't want them unified just
to hold hands and sing, 'We are the
World,'" Barber said. "They
should be unified around public
policy regarding the issues that will
iielp their constituents that elected
them. The problem is too many
people are trying to be faithful
Democrats instead of being faith
ful to their constituents"
While the caucus is debating its
future, the N.C. Political Action
GOP coalition has written six bills
that involve education, technology
advancement and economic
growth in the state's poorest areas
"They need to move beyond
this issue with Blue," Barber said.
"If the Black Caucus is unified,
they could control the General
Assembly. They need to be a Black
Caucus pr disband." ' ^
1^55 SPORTSWFF-K T ?? F<)< ( \ I
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The Chronicles e-mail address is:
NOTICE OF A CITIZEN INFORMATIONAL t
WORKSHOP FOR REPLACEMENT OF BRIDGE j
NO. 207 OVER PATTERSON AVENUE ON OAK ?
SUMMIT ROAD (SR 1686) IN WINSTON-SALEM ?
- \ 1
Project 8.2624001 B-3171 Forsyth County j
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)?
will hold the abovp Citizens Informational Workshop on Junel
15,1999, between the hours of 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM at the! -
North Forsyth High School Cafeteria on Hanes Mill Road. ?
NCDOT is considering three alternatives to replace Bridget
No. 207 over Patterson Avenue on Oak Summit Road in*
Winston-Salem. The preferred alternative being considered*;
would replace the bridge at the existing location and traffic*;
would be detoured on-site during construction. The otherj;
alternatives being considered would be staged construction. J
Comments received from the public at this workshop will be*
used in the preparation of the Categorical Exclusion being*
developed for this project. I
NCDOT representatives will be available at the workshop toj
answer questions and receive comments relative to the pro-S
posed project. Information at the workshop will be general in J
nature, no detailed designs are available. Interested individ-J
uals may attend at their convenience during the above-stat-I
ed hours. Anyone desiring additional information may con-I
tact Ms. Nancy Campanella, Project Development Engineer,'
at P.O. Box 25201, Raleigh, NC 27611, or call 919-733-!
7844, ext. 262.
*? ? *
In order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act,;
NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services for disabled;
persons who wish to attend the workshop. To receive special;
services, please contact Ms. Campanella at the above;
address or fax 919-733-9794 prior to the date of the work-;
shop. J ,