Juneteenth has only been an official federal holiday for a few years, but that doesn’t mean that the City of High Point and the High Point Library don’t have big plans to honor the day.  And since the two events will take place in just a couple of weeks, you won’t even have to wait until Wednesday, June 19th to celebrate.

Slaves were declared free by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, but it was on June 19, 1865, that the final slaves in Texas were freed.

Leading up to Juneteenth this year, the High Point Public Library is hosting a two-part Black genealogy speaker series: one on Tuesday, May 28, from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., and another on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The first event, titled, “The True Story of Juneteenth – How Freedom Came to Texas & How We Celebrate,” will be in the Morgan Community Room of the library and it can also be viewed live online by registering at https://tinyurl.com/BGeX-HighPoint-28May24.

According to promotional information from the library, “This presentation brings the story of Juneteenth to life by replacing myths and omissions with documented facts about the events of June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. Audiences will be introduced to some of the people who made sure the state of Texas and the entire nation celebrates this important historical event, chief among them the grandmother of Juneteenth, Mrs. Opal Lee.”

The program will be presented by Sharon Gillins, whose passion for her family led her to be a genealogy educator. Over the past two decades, she has frequently spoken at regional conferences and national genealogical institutes. Her teaching reveals techniques for researching African American families in “underutilized record groups that can lead to the discovery of enslaved ancestors and their historical journeys.”

The second part of the series, “Juneteenth eXperience: Finding and Celebrating Your Juneteenth Family” with Shamele Jordon, will take place virtually on Saturday, June 1. Participants of that session will discover their African American ancestry back to 1870 and learn practical research strategies for tracing both enslaved and free people of color during the Antebellum period.

The program offers attendees a chance to better understand their family history and it also celebrates the legacy of people who helped lead the transition from freedom to slavery.

Those interested in participating in the virtual program can register at https://tinyurl.com/BGeX-HighPoint-01Jun24.

Shamele Jordon is a genealogist, writer and lecturer known for her work in the field of historical research. She’s the award-winning producer of “Genealogy Quick Start” – a bi-monthly live-streamed show that now boasts over 100 episodes.

She has received an independent research grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission for her study and mapping of Civil War soldiers and sailors buried in Lawnside, New Jersey, and she also received a New Jersey Historical Commission grant for “Along Freedom’s Journey: The Peter Mott House, Snow Hill, New Jersey” and “Green Book Locations in Lawnside and Berlin.”

If you have questions about either of these events, contact Marcellaus Joiner at marcellaus.joiner@highpointnc.gov or call 336-883-8542.