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Broward County Commissioners Discuss Juneteenth, As Library Hosts Educational Programs

Photo of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale
City of Fort Lauderdale
The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale

Broward County Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss items on the county's summer agenda. One conversation focused on expanding efforts to educate Broward residents about Juneteenth.

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of ‘June’ and ‘19th,’ is observed annually on the aforementioned date to mark when the last group of enslaved people in Texas were notified, in 1865, of the official emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

The road to recognizing the holiday, on both a national and statewide level, has been a long and arduous one. Last summer’s renewed cries for social equity brought the oft-forgotten holiday back to the cultural forefront and led to an increased demand for more transparent teachings of American history.

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Allison Grubbs, interim director of Broward County's library system, discussed the increased availability of educational resources offered by the county.

“We host educational events with community partners. We provide many resources, physical and digital, and we work with our agency partners to market all of these efforts on our social media platforms,” she said.

Grubbs went on to highlight the county’s efforts to spread awareness of the true history of Juneteenth in Florida through various events across Broward, starting May 20 and lasting through June.

The May 20 date also bears an interesting bit of forgotten history unique to Florida. While June 19 was declared the official proclamation of the end of slavery, enslaved people in Florida actually got the news a month earlier.

Through the increased prevalence of educational resources, Broward County and Florida at large are beginning to reckon with less-discussed pieces of history. But Broward County officials also placed a focus on what could happen in the future.

Broward leaders did not make any new declarations about Juneteenth Tuesday. In January, the board voted against making Juneteenth a paid day off for county workers in favor of hosting educational events about the holiday.

The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale will host a keynote event Saturday morning.

Shianne Salazar is a former intern and freelancer at WLRN News.
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