Dr. Will Bolt, associate professor of history at Francis Marion University, will present a special lecture entitled, “The Forked Road to Juneteenth” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17th in the auditorium at The Leatherman Medical Complex in downtown Florence.
The presentation is open to the public.
Juneteenth celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States. Specifically, it remembers June 19, 1865, the day when Union troops landed in Galveston, Texas and read proclamations declaring the end of slavery. Because of Texas’ relatively remote location at the time, the end of slavery was unknown or little known, even though president Abraham Lincoln had signed the emancipation proclamation two-and-a-half years earlier. The name is a blending of “June” and “nineteenth.”
Juneteenth has been celebrated for years, but increasingly has gained national recognition. A number of cities around the nation have adopted it as an official holiday, including the City of Florence.
FMU’s observance is designed to be informative, as befits an institution dedicated to higher education.
Bolt, a distinguished scholar of 19th century United States history, will explore the origins of the celebration, which is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, or Jubilee Day. He will also look at the speed of communications at that time, and at president’s Lincoln’s reluctance to embrace emancipation as a means for bringing the war to an end.
The Leatherman Complex is in the refurbished old post office building on the corner of Irby and West Evans Street. The auditorium is located into the former federal courtroom on the second floor of the building.