Muskingum County NAACP Juneteenth Celebration Seeks to Educate Kids

Local News

MUSKINGUM COUNTY, Ohio – This year marks the first time Juneteenth will be recognized as a federal holiday since its origins in the 1860s – and Muskingum County is joining in on the celebration. 

The Muskingum County NAACP hosted an event Saturday, honoring black heritage in the Zanesville region and creating a space to educate youth on the importance of the holiday.

The origins of Juneteenth began on June 19th of 1865, when a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, issued more than two and a half years earlier, on January 1st, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.

Here in Zanesville, Martha Mitchell, the Chairperson of the youth committee of the Muskingum County NAACP, emphasized the importance of educating the community – especially youths- about the value of the holiday.

“I think if when we can intertwine the black history with all of the other history of Zanesville – it’s going to be richer and better for the youth that are around.”

The Muskingum County NAACP, while most known for providing educational opportunities to the community, additionally assists in providing legal advice, housing, and overall support for those in the Muskingum County area. The NAACP also celebrates black businesses in the Zanesville community, recognizing Nicole’s On Main from downtown as a vendor at today’s event.

Nicole’s on Main

Kirby Mitchell, a guest speaker at the event, shared with attendees the importance of expressing their heritage with pride and how it can shape the future of Zanesville.

“That’s the whole purpose of Juneteenth. It’s to inspire generations to excel and to do more because of the struggles that our ancestors put forth to do those things – that they were hindered from doing those things – to the fact that we can actually accomplish those things now.”

The Muskingum County NAACP will be offering educational events and community assistance programs throughout the summer to provide more avenues to educate the youngest generation of Zanesville on black history.