June 17 and 18, 2006 mark the 56th annual celebration of San Francisco Juneteenth, the largest gathering of African-Americans in northern California. It is the most respected brand name among the more than 440,000 black households in the Bay Area because of the historical significance of the observance and the traditions that have been developed locally.
In the early 1950's Dr. Wesley Johnson Sr. then owner of The Texas Playhouse on Fillmore Street invited all Bay Area Blacks to come join the "June 19th" celebration at his famous Fillmore street cocktail lounge. The celebration expanded outside his doors to the point that Johnson along with local community and business leaders, led a parade down Fillmore street. Dr. Johnson and former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. both natives of Texas, were at the front of the procession on white horses with Stetsons adorning their heads. The assertion of the new found freedom that blacks received in San Francisco from segregation in the Southwest was as important an expression as the original celebration of emancipation.
The San Francisco Juneteenth Festival is the oldest and largest Juneteenth Celebration outside of Texas where Juneteenth originated. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas declaring that slavery was illegal. This was almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1863) and four months after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery, but the proclamations had been meaningless until Union forces actually occupied rebel territory. To those who heard the proclamation, the date of Granger's order became known as Juneteenth. Other celebrations such as National Freedom Day on Feb. 1 to mark the passage of the 13th Amendment were popular in other parts of the country, but the Juneteenth tradition was preserved in Texas. After State Sen. Al Edwards lobbied to make Juneteenth a state holiday in Texas in the 1970s, the tradition began to spread nationally. However, the San Francisco observance was already more than two decades old by then.
Street festival to take place on Fillmore btw. Geary & McAllister
Official Website: http://www.sfjuneteenth.org
Added by claudinerlco on May 9, 2006