Mayor Johnson to Lead Commemorative "Juneteenth Walk to the River"

Press Release from the Mayor's Office: The event will take place on the Juneteenth National Independence Day federal holiday

Mayor Van R. Johnson, II invites the community to join him for the commemorative “Juneteenth Walk to the River” on Wednesday, June 19, to honor the Juneteenth National Independence Day. The community walk to celebrate freedom will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Wells Park and move north down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., ending at the Savannah River in front of Plant Riverside.

Juneteenth originated as a celebration to commemorate the end of slavery. On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to free 250,000 people who were still held in bondage two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. It was the final enforcement of the proclamation that ended slavery in America.

“Juneteenth is not just African-American history, it is American history,” Mayor Johnson said. "As such, I am honored to lead our entire community of various races, faiths, ages, and walks of life in this commemorative and annual walk to the Savannah River.”

Mayor Johnson signed a proclamation in 2020 recognizing Juneteenth Day in Savannah. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act recognizing June 19 as the federal holiday Juneteenth. It was the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was adopted in 1983.

“On Juneteenth, we commemorate that day and honor the tireless work of abolitionists who made it their mission to deliver the promise of America for all Americans,” President Biden said in a 2023 public brief. “We honor the generations of activists who have advanced the need for our Nation to recognize Juneteenth as a way to reconcile our past as we build a new American future together.”

What: Juneteenth Walk to the River
When: Wednesday, June 19, at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Wells Park, 2299 Montgomery St.


Heike Currie

Connect Savannah Executive Editor
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