The end of slavery in the United States dates back nearly 150 years — and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

It was on June 19, 1865 — "Juneteenth" — that Union troops came to Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were freed.

Now Juneteenth is known as the oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., with cities around the country joining in with their own festivals.

And for the fifth year, York will hold its own Juneteenth Festival.

The York City-based Ancestor's Dream Organization, a nonprofit that advocates for underprivileged people in the community, will host the event from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Cherry Lane Park, 34 W. Philadelphia St.

Family fun: This year's theme is Black Wall Street, which was a prosperous 20th century black community in Tulsa, Okla.

Known as the Greenwood District, it was home to many black professionals and thrived with two newspapers, a bus system, grocery stores and schools — but a major race riot in 1921 killed an estimated 3,000 residents and destroyed about 600 businesses.

For Ancestor's Dream, supporting small, urban businesses is an important concept of the Black Wall Street theme, said president Brittany Banks. So the free, family-oriented festival — held outside the city's historical retail hub, Central Market — will feature vendors selling food, art, crafts and other goods, she said.


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There will also be live entertainment from local artists, including a performance by Christine Lincoln, York's poet laureate, Banks said.

Kids' activities, such as face painting and games, will also make Juneteenth a family affair, she said.

"We want it to be for everyone, not a particular group," Banks said. "Something for everyone to enjoy."

— Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.