"To lend meaning to a community underserved and take part in its healing."
The Cooper Family has led the celebration of Juneteenth in San Diego for over 50 years. Sidney Cooper Sr. who was a businessman and pillar in the African-American community led the charge in the recognition of Juneteenth. He continued to be Juneteenth's biggest fan until he passed away. The Cooper Family continues in his spirit by keeping the recognition and celebration of this historic day in the forefront of the San Diego community. It is our intention to make this day the biggest celebration in the city of San Diego.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after Presidents Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to minimal number of union troops to enforce the Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger's regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and it's festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered by newly emancipated African Americans. These celebrations of June 19th were coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. the Juneteenth celebration was a tie for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly reverse3d in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.
Today, Juneteenth commemorates African-American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with joyous celebrations, guest speakers, music, and dance performances and family gatherings. It is a time fro reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and planning for the future.