Wiscasset residents plan to commemorate their first Juneteenth on the town’s Common from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 19, with an informal bring-your-own picnic, music, and storytelling.

In the tradition of Juneteenth celebrations around the country, it’s a day of sharing stories and food, embracing loved ones, and never forgetting that the price of freedom is high and dear, according to a news release from co-coordinator Lucia Droby.

Juneteenth began in 1866, a year after federal troops marched into Galveston, Texas, announcing that all enslaved people were free. This was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that slaves in Confederate states would be free.

The day became a “Jubilee Day” of celebration by newly-freed African Americans in Texas and, with migration, was quickly embraced in other states.

Juneteenth is now celebrated throughout the U.S. with family gatherings, prayer, music, and remembrance of the hard-fought struggle for emancipation.

In Maine, Juneteenth became an official state holiday in 2021, the same year the U.S. designated the day a federal holiday. Both holidays are being celebrated in 2022 for the first time.

For more information, call 617-974-7720 or email Droby at [email protected].

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