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  • Writer's pictureShayne Jones

Residents hit Main Street for Tiburon’s first Juneteenth fest

Residents gather around the stage on Tiburon’s lower Main Street on June 19 to listen to the music of jazz band Joyce Grant & Co. at the town’s inaugural Juneteenth festival celebrating Black history. (Elliot Karlan / For The Ark)

Tiburon’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration featured jazz, poetry and history lessons — and a pledge from several speakers to continue work aimed at building a more inclusive community.

Residents crowded Main Street for the June 19 festival, hosted by the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the town’s Diversity Inclusion Task Force, formed earlier this year to address issues of race and bias in the community. In between sets from jazz vocalist Joyce Grant, who belted out original songs and crowd favorites such as “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, task-force members and city officials talked about the holiday’s origins and ongoing efforts to combat racial injustice.

Juneteenth, also historically known as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day, is a celebration of Black history that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed slaves that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished. The announcement came about 2½ years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. It has been celebrated by Black Americans since the late 1800s.

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