Today is Juneteenth.

What a glorious day it is today for Pennsylvania (if you just ignore the rain)!

Juneteenth. “June” and “Nineteenth.”

The observance of Juneteenth dates to June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, that all slaves were free. Despite Abraham Lincoln having issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years previously, the news traveled slow deep in the confederate states.

Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 45 states. Today, Pennsylvania is among the states to recognize it. Gov. Tom Wolf has officially declared Juneteenth a holiday.  Honestly, I think our Juneteenth Brunch had something to do with it.

If you missed it, on Saturday June 15 2019, we held our inaugural Juneteenth Celebration with a brunch at Terra Preta Prime.  It was a warm, blissful, and sunny Saturday afternoon. More than 80 people came out to celebrate while enjoying omelets and mimosas on the patio.  We—Black Scranton Project gave the city a cultural moment, in the heart of downtown Scranton what once was the central vein of the black community.

The afternoon was filled with intention and light.

From the restuarant on the corner of N.Washington Ave and Spruce street, we commemorated the past and gave a toast to our ancestors. From that corner we shouted ‘WE SEE YOU’ to the overlooked alleys and shadowy heroes.  From that corner we offered a salute the G.A.R. building that stands in honor of those who fought for freedom, but especially to our NEPA Colored Troops who gave their lives for the freedom of their descendent who never knew their names. We’ll find your names and honor you. 

Juneteenth is bigger than just historical notions of ‘freedom.’

It is about celebrating healing.

It is about celebrating remembering.

It is about celebrating be black, in all of it shades.

Its is about community.

It is about heritage.

It is about truth.

It is about love

Photography by Justene Bartkowski

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