The AAPC Newsletter, June 2024, Issue 11

A Message from Dr. Chiquita T. Tuttle,

Coordinator, African American Pastoral Center


What it Symbolizes


Juneteenth, observed annually on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery

in the United States. The name “Juneteenth” is a blend of “June” and “nineteenth,” marking the day in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger

arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation. This declaration, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, had little immediate effect on many enslaved people due to the Civil War. It wasn’t until Granger’s arrival that the last of the enslaved African Americans were freed, over two years later. 


The First Juneteenth 

More than 250,000 African Americans embraced freedom by executive decree in what became known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day. With the principles of self-determination, citizenship, and democracy magnifying their hopes and dreams, those Texans held fast to the promise of true liberty for all.


The message read as follows: 

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute

equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves,

and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between

employer and hired laborer." 

Gordon Granger 

Union General, June 19, 1865 



Positive Aspects of Juneteenth 

Celebration of Freedom:  Juneteenth is a joyous occasion celebrating the liberation of African Americans from slavery. It’s a time for African Americans communities to honor their ancestors’ resilience and the ongoing journey toward equality. Parades, festivals, and family gatherings mark this day, filled with music, food, and cultural performances that emphasize pride and unity. 



The symbolism and celebration of red foods is a sign of resilience and joy. The color red is highly associated with the cultures that would've come through the later years of the Transatlantic slave trade, which

would have been Yoruba and Kongo. People from the Yoruba of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo; and the Kongo of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Gabon—placed great philosophical and spiritual value in the color red as it symbolizes sacrifice, transition, and power.   


Suggested Meal for Juneteenth Celebration 


Cherry Cobbler 

Red beans and rice 

Cherry cola BBQ sauce 

Stewed Okra w/ tomatoes and corn 

BBQ chicken 


Educational Value 

The day provides an opportunity to educate both African Americans and the broader public about a pivotal moment in U.S. History. Schools, museums, and community organizations often host events and discussions that delve into the significance of Juneteenth, fostering a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs associated with the abolition of slavery. 


National Recognition 

In 2021, Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday, highlighting its importance in

American history.  This recognition helps to ensure that the story of

emancipation is not forgotten and underscores historical injustices faced by African Americans. While Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery, it also

serves as a reminder that the journey toward true equality is far from complete.  Systemic racism, economic disparities, and social injustices continue to affect African Americans communities today.  Although we have made progress in these areas, we have much further to go to accomplish full equality and acceptance. 

As a designated federal holiday, Juneteenth has prompted a national dialogue about race and history in the United States. It encourages conversations about the legacies of slavery, the progress made since emancipation, and the work that remains to be done in every aspect of our lives.  

Juneteenth provides a powerful means of cultural affirmation, allowing African Americans to connect with their heritage and celebrate their identity. It is a day for acknowledging the strength and contributions of African Americans throughout history, in present day time and into the future. 

The holiday fosters a sense of community and solidarity. Events organized around Juneteenth often emphasize local activism and community improvement, encouraging African Americans to take roles in addressing current social issues.  It also serves as a catalyst for discussions on civil

rights, social justice, education, employment, health disparities, and economic empowerment. 

Juneteenth offers a space for healing and reflection on the past’s traumas. By acknowledging and commemorating the end of slavery, it allows African Americans to honor their ancestors’ sacrifices, and resilience while also contemplating contemporary struggles for justice and equality in today’s world. 

Juneteenth stands as a symbol of freedom, resilience, and the ongoing pursuit of equality. It clearly brings to light the historical action of emancipation; however, it also underscores the persistent challenges that African Americans still face today. We celebrate our cultural heritage,

but are also called to action, reminding all of the importance of understanding history and continuing to fight for justice and equality on all levels within society. 


Fun Facts About Juneteenth 

  • It is the oldest known holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the US. 
  • Juneteenth is the title of a book by author Ralph Ellison. 
  • Some cities and groups have Miss Juneteenth contests. 
  • Strawberry soda pop was once a popular drink associated with celebrating the day. 

About the Flag (Shown above)


Ben Haith, a community organizer, and activist known better as “Boston Ben,” created the flag in 1997. In an interview with Capital B Atlanta News agency, Haith said once he learned about Juneteenth, he felt passionately it needed representation.  

“I was just doing what God told me,” Haith said. “I have somewhat of a marketing

background, and I thought Juneteenth, what it represented, needed to have a


Haith wasn’t impressed with the initial concept, but every Juneteenth holiday he would raise the flag near his son’s middle school in Roxbury, a majority Black community in Boston.  

After getting his inspiration for the flag, he knew which colors and symbols he wanted in the flag — he just needed to finalize it. That’s when he met illustrator Lisa Jeanne-Graf, who responded to an ad in a local newspaper and finalized the flag in 2000.  


The Colors 

Juneteenth is often associated with red, green, and black: the colors of the pan-African flag. However, those aren’t the colors of the Juneteenth flag. The banner shares the colors of the American flag: red, white, and blue.  

In the past, Haith has said it was a purposeful choice — a reminder that Black

Americans descended from slaves are exactly that: American.  

“For so long, our ancestors weren’t considered citizens of this country,” Haith said. “But realistically, and technically, they were citizens. They just were deprived of being recognized as citizens. So, I thought it was important that the colors portray red, white, and blue, which we see in the American flag.” 

The star on the Juneteenth flag is meant to represent Texas as the Lone Star state, but also the freedom of enslaved citizens. With its dual meaning, it’s meant to represent the role that Texas plays in the history of Juneteenth, but

also as another reminder that Black people are free.  


“When people were escaping down the Underground Railroad …they

used stars to navigate where they were at, when they were going up and down,” 


The burst around the star is representative of a nova, which is an astronomical event that brings about the sudden appearance of a new, bright star. The bottom half of the flag is red and shaped in an arch, which has similar meaning to the

white outline around the star. The curve is meant to represent a “new horizon.”  

Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas. 

Juneteenth Historical Marker Galveston, TX 


Juneteenth Events

Black History Summit

Wednesday June 19, 2024 @ 12pm EST

Click HERE for more information

Consider Donating to the Museum of the African Diaspora in Celebration of Juneteenth

Celebrate Juneteenth & Support Youth at MoAD!

This Juneteenth, join us in celebrating freedom and history. Give today to fund MLK Day and Black History Month at MoAD!

Since 2020, MoAD has welcomed:

  • Nearly 8,000 youth and families with free admission on MLK Community Free Days
  • Over 11,000 visitors during Black History Month at MoAD

Your generous donation helps us keep MLK Day free and accessible for youth and families, ensuring everyone can participate in our enriching programs. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor all donations will be matched dollar to dollar up to $15,000, doubling your impact.


Articles of Interest

The Travelers, are bronze surrealist sculptures by French artist Bruno Catalano. They are representative of leaving parts of oneself behind when emigrating or traveling.

Your Health and Wellness

Because We Care!

Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults:

News and Events Around The Diocese

St. Columba Church

Catch up on news and events at St. Columba HERE

St. Benedict Church

Catch up on news and events at St. Benedict HERE.

St. Patrick Church

Catch up on news and events at St. Patrick HERE.

St. Louie Bertrand Church

Catch up on news and events at St. Louie Bertrand HERE.

Other Events

Links of Interest From the AAPC

Black Catholic Messenger: The Voice of US Black Catholics

Black Catholic Messenger Calendar, Black Catholic Events Around the Country

Parishes In Action, A ministry of the Diocese of Oakland

Email Dr. Tuttle to share updates, events and stories of interest
Donate HERE Today and Support the African American Pastoral Council
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Previous Newsletters

Issue 10

Issue 9

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Issue 7

Issue 6

Issue 5

Issue 4

Issue 3

Issue 2

Issue 1

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