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Durkeeville Historical Society Celebrates Juneteenth

Cyd Hoskinson

Slavery in the U.S. came to an end 148 years ago today, when Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas with the news that President Abraham Lincoln had abolished the practice two-and-a-half years earlier.

The anniversary of the event, which came to be known as Juneteenth, is celebrated around the country, including here in Jacksonville. 

Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
Pamela Singleton, V.P., Lloyd Washington, Pres., Durkeeville Historical Society

The Durkeeville Historical Society on the city's northside has made the observance of Juneteenth a week-long event. Pamela Singleton helped organize this year's observance.

“It’s a celebration of freedom and a day to do and be your own person, so the things we had settled on doing this week were things revolving around freedom of speech and freedom of mind," says Singleton. "Just being able to read anything you want and having literacy was something that we did not have, so we celebrated that way.”

The Juneteenth observance wraps up tonight with a luminaria display at the society’s headquarters at the corner of Myrtle Ave. and W 19th Street.

According to historians, Jacksonville’s historic Durkeeville community was founded in the late 1930’s and became the city’s first upscale black neighborhood where African Americans were allowed to own their own homes. 

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.