Supervisor Don Clavin and Deputy Supervisor Dorothy Goosby have announced that the Town of Hempstead’s annual Juneteenth celebration will be held on Saturday, June 18th at Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza, returning to an in-person format after several virtual events were held in past years. All residents are invited to attend the festivities, which include musical performances, informative lectures on the history of the Juneteenth holiday, various dance and poetry readings, the Juneteenth flag raising and much more! The program, which begins at 11:30 AM, will be led by none other than Hempstead Town’s deputy supervisor.
“I am so thrilled to announce the return of an in-person celebration for the Juneteenth event,” Supervisor Clavin stated. “The Town of Hempstead looks forward to hosting this program every year, and it’s an honor to celebrate this national holiday alongside a determined pioneer and civil rights leader advocate like our beloved Deputy Supervisor Dorothy Goosby.”
“We come together to celebrate the eradication of slavery every June 19th not only in Hempstead Town, but across the entire country,” said Deputy Supervisor Goosby. “My career at the Town of Hempstead stemmed from the continued fight I vowed to never back down from. Juneteenth is the celebration of our collective fight as a whole.”
Juneteenth commemorates the historic date in 1865 when Texas Union Army General, Gordon Granger, declared freedom for more than 250,000 of those enslaved in the state of Texas. June 19th, which rightfully holds the alternate name of “National Freedom Day”, marked a momentous period in our country’s history, symbolizing an end to slavery in the United States.
Commenced in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, the month of June is also celebrated as African American Music Appreciation Month. With influential artists such as Jimi Hendrix coining rock’n’roll, and Louis Armstrong leaving an everlasting imprint on the jazz culture - many African American artists paved the way for many future folk, blues, R&B, and rock musicians.
Along with spearheading icons, Hempstead Town is home to its own prominent trailblazer. In 1988, Dorothy Goosby – then a private citizen – filed a lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead, stating that the town’s at-large voting system for electing town council members discriminated against African Americans and other minority groups who comprised a smaller percentage of the town’s population. Taking almost a decade to reach a verdict, in 1997 a federal judge ruled in favor of Goosby and her supporters. Following, in 1999, Goosby ran for office and became the first African American woman ever to serve on the Hempstead Town Council. As a result of Goosby’s lawsuit, six councilmanic districts were established over different geographical areas of the township. This allowed for more equal representation of African Americans and other minority groups in Town of Hempstead government.
For the past 20 years, Senior Councilwoman Goosby – now serving as deputy supervisor – has been re-elected to her district by an overwhelming majority. As a tribute to her notable accomplishments in the town and contributions to the civil rights movement, Supervisor Clavin and the Hempstead Town Board renamed Town Hall’s outdoor courtyard as “Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza.”
This Saturday’s Hempstead Town Juneteenth event will feature art installations and music that tell the tales of African American culture, informative talks on the history of Juneteenth, the Juneteenth flag raising and even activities for children. For more information, please contact (516) 489-5000 ext. 4304.
“We invite all residents to celebrate Juneteenth heritage, and jam-packed fun in honor of National Freedom Day!” Supervisor Clavin concluded. “Our entire township is looking forward to seeing the Juneteenth flag flying high as we display it proudly on the front steps of Hempstead Town Hall.”