Our History

miss-2013-juneteenth-and-parents

Our Mission:

To develop and implement strategic prevention programming that addresses the problems facing our communities:  Alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse, gang related violence, teen pregnancy and low self-esteem by educating our children from pre-school to young adults through workshops and cultural events that provides knowledge and celebrates the African American experience as our heritage relates to all people.

THE JUNETEENTH STORY

Juneteenth, or the “19th of June”, recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwest. This was the last major vestige of slavery in the United States following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3 by General Granger, the former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America’s second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African-American holiday observance.

Juneteenth is now recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Delaware, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina and Vermont. In 2003, the District of Columbia passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a district holiday observance. Many more states, including Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Montana, Wisconsin and Maryland have recognized Juneteenth through annual state legislative resolutions, Gubernatorial Proclamations and current state holiday observance legislation.

 

For the last twenty one years, Delaware has been celebrating Juneteenth through the effort and diligence of organizer, Bernie Wilkins. On February 28, 2000, Governor Carper signed a bill to acknowledge Juneteenth as a state holiday. It is to be recognized every third Saturday in June. Our state celebration has included family days in the park, parades, concerts, religious observances, underground railroad tours and for the last seventeen years a youth pageant directed by Sandy Clark. The pageant is held on the first Friday in June. Contestants are young ladies ages 8-18. They are divided into two categories (Juniors 8-11 and Seniors 12-18). Sessions begin in the month of January with workshops on etiquette, social skills, essay writing, public speaking, modeling, nutrition, proper attire, African American History and Spirituality. Community service is also an integral part of the program.

 

The Delaware Juneteenth Association (DEJA) Pageant and Family Enrichment Program was also developed to accommodate the contestant families. This program has turned out to be a phenomenal success. The families form a bond with each other every year. They do many wholesome activities together to enhance their cultural awareness while promoting education and healthy family values.

 

The Delaware Juneteenth Association (DEJA) Pageant and Family Enrichment Program was also developed to accommodate the contestant families. This program has turned out to be a phenomenal success. The families form a bond with each other every year. They do many wholesome activities together to enhance their cultural awareness while promoting education and healthy family values.

 

Miss Juneteenth 2016, LaJéa Bell will be happy to accept speaking engagements.

Please contact Pageant Director, Sandy Clark at (302) 530-1605

 

For national organization information, go to http://www.juneteenth.us.

 

“No One Is Free Until All Peoples Are Free”

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