Juneteenth Celebration will Tell Stories of Black Civil War Troops

Jun 14, 2013

LEXINGTON,KY-- African Cemetary #2 will be celebrating Juneteenth this Saturday by revisiting the Civil War.

Juneteenth is an annual celebration of the abolition of slavery, dating back to when Union officer Gordon Granger announced the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation to Texan slaves in  1865.  This year, the cemetery will commemorate the occasion by telling the stories of blacks who enlisted in the Union Army.  Historian Yvonne Giles says that over 61 soldiers are buried in the area, but they were a small fraction of those who served the Commonwealth. 

"We tell those stories because had it not been for the 23,703 African Americans from Kentucky who enlisted, we may never have gained our freedom," Giles said. 

Giles also that Kentucky had the second highest rate of enlistment, only being beaten out by Louisiana with 300 more people. 

Tent sites will be placed around the graves of fallen soldiers where cemetary staff will tell their stories.  Guests will also be provided with a "camp-fare breakfast," made up of food that the soldiers would have eaten.  Giles notes, however, that the menu will include more than hardtack in order to accomodate "21st century" guests. 

The event runs from 10:30-noon this Saturday at Lexington's African Cemetary #2, which is located at 419 East Seventh Street.