By Aminata E. Sanyang
A celebration of black resilience, liberation, and triumph, June 19th famously called Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States of America.
This came after the emancipation proclamation was issued in 1863 by the then president of the United States Abraham Lincoln, it took two years until the arrival of federal troops in Galveston Texas in 1865, for the slaves in Texas to receive the news of the abolition.
Juneteenth became a holiday of celebration first in Texas, and it gradually was recognized by other states, said to be one of the oldest holidays in America, the commemoration of Juneteenth was marked by prayer services and church gatherings, and the celebration was diversified in the subsequent years in black communities, this included dancing, singing and eating their favorite dishes.
Juneteenth is now signed into law as a federal holiday by President Joe Biden in June 2021, this day creates the space for African Americans to reflect on the painful history of the slave trade and to have a spirited celebration of freedom.
The United States Ambassador to the Gambia Sharon L. Cromer observe Juneteenth by visiting Gambia’s historical sites such as Kunta Kinte Island, the Juffureh Museum, and the family of Kunta Kinte. The U.S Diplomat was joined on a tour boat by her husband Arnold Sobers Jr. and staff of the U.S embassy.
Observing the day with immense remembrance of the adversities inflicted on African slaves, the Ambassador laid flowers on the river Gambia to honor the victims of the slave trade.
The Kunta Kinte Island is a historical environment that attests to the encounter between The Gambia and the slave traders, the ambassador and her team explored the monumental structure built by the slave merchants to enhance the trade.
The island harbored African slaves and a gigantic number were transported to the west and many died in the edifice.
The ambassador also visited the Museum in Juffureh, the building archives the history of the slave trade and the level at which the Gambia was exploited.
Ambassador Cromer visited Aja Mariama Fofana, she is the 8th generation of Kunta, this gesture was appreciated by the family of the iconic hero Kunta Kinte.
The Ambassador’s visit to various historical sites gave her more exposure to Gambia’s slave trade history, the visit also marks a unique commemoration of Juneteenth, a path that advances the embrace of black independence.