News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News


'It's a part of the greater American story': Indy leaders share Juneteenth's significance

Screenshot 2024-06-19 072253.png
Posted at 7:32 AM, Jun 19, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Juneteenth celebrations are underway across the country, including here in Central Indiana. From festivals, to parades, to educational discussions, many are commemorating the now Federal Holiday. But why and what exactly do we celebrate?

"This is the last stronghold of slavery that occurred in Galveston Texas,” said Eunice Trotter, the Director of Indiana Landmarks Black Heritage Preservation Program. “Soldiers many of them from Indiana were part of the United States colored troops 28 division were sent there to make sure they were emancipated."

Juneteenth or June 19, 1865, marked official freedom for all enslaved African Americans more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the United States and was declared a federal holiday in 2021.

"It's a part of the greater American story that I think needs to be more widely talked about recognized and celebrated,” said Brandon Cosby, the Chief Executive Officer for Flanner House that also runs Ujamaa.

The community bookstore on Indy’s Northwest side focuses on Black history and heritage.

The bookstore has held a celebration on the actual day of June 19 for nearly the last decade.

"We celebrate the aspects of the African Diaspora and the contributors to this country that helped shape the country into what it is,” said Cosby. "It needs to be talked about to be celebrated not just by those of us of African descent."

Community leaders believe celebrating Juneteenth is as important as celebrating the Fourth of July.

A significant holiday that honors history, they think is important for everyone to know about, well beyond just the day.

"A place like Ujamaa serves as a repository where people can come and sit and learn have conversations,” said Cosby.

Indiana Landmarks is also hoping to preserve black history by restoring and preserving Black historic sites in Indiana.

Black heritage is part of the full story of American heritage, of Indiana heritage, without it we don’t get the full story,” said Trotter.

The Ujamaa Community Bookstore will be holding its annual celebration Wednesday June 19 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

It will feature face painting, bounce housing, food trucks, celebrating entrepreneurs, and more.