President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, but it was nearly two and half years later -- on June 19, 1865, -- when African Americans living in Texas learned they had been freed.
For over 100 years, people have been celebrating Juneteenth to commemorate the occasion. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Gamma Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha's Juneteenth celebration.
The Juneteenth Western Round-Up Dinner Dance will be Friday, June 15 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.
Besides commemorating African American freedom, Juneteenth events emphasize education and achievement. Money raised at this year's event will benefit Gamma Tau Omega's scholarship and community outreach programs. The group generally raises 10,000.
This is the fifth year that Lisa Thomas-Cutts serves as the event's chairperson.
"We like to keep it fun. There will be a short program but it's really a celebration," Lisa says.
The menu focuses on comfort foods -- expect fried catfish and peach cobbler.
DJ Lady T will provide a variety of music including R&B, blues and line-dancing favorites.
About 800 people attended last year's event. Lisa says Juneteenth appeals to people of all ages and is open to the public.
"The misconception is that this is a Greek event, but it's not. It's open to the whole community. Everyone is welcome," Lisa says.
Juneteenth Western Round-Up Dinner Dance
When: 8 p.m. Friday, June 15
Where: Columbus Convention Trade Center, South Hall
Dress: Everyone is asked to wear Western attire. Expect to see jeans paired with Western hats and boots.
Information: Lisa Thomas-Cutts at 706-329-3482.
Ticket outlets: Carolyn Hugley's State Farm and the Columbus Civic Center